Let My People Think

Posts tagged ‘Jesus’

For God so loved the world (a poem)

For God so loved the worldThe kind of love which stands above division, judgment, and offense is usually fairly difficult to cultivate and practice. When it becomes our heart culture, however, it has a very real potential to open people up to what we have to say. Then we can usher those we thus love into the very presence of Jesus, so that he can do through us for them what no educational or correctional institution can. But we can get to that point only when we begin with unconditional love and acceptance on the most fundamental human level, before anything else can be offered.

Am I there? Not quite yet, but I know that I am on my way there. I also experientially know that place of judgmentalism and misplaced pride which is the polar opposite of agape-love. That’s a place to which I have absolutely no intention of ever regressing to.

We love playing it safe and talking in generalities. But what if we allow ourselves to get more specific with more general statements such as “God so loved the world”? What would that look like? The poem below attempts to unpack that Scriptural verse within the context of years 2016-2017.
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Prison Break (a poem)

Death to Religion

It’s a very different experience to know the Bright Figure by name (vis-a-vis the last stanza)

PRISON BREAK

Dashing hard against glass walls,
So impenetrable and thick –
It doesn’t seem like I can escape
From the self-imposed prison of standards and rules.

I look through the glass, and I see the bright sun,
The colors and smells of everyday life.
A fresh-painted bedroom, a just-printed book,
A cleanly bathed baby, playfully cooing.
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Inner transformation through the power of personal presence

Good Will Hunting“Good Will Hunting” is amazing movie in all regards. Will Hunting, played by Matt Damon, is an troubled young man with a photographic memory and an IQ off the charts. He couldn’t get in on a good education, so he was working as a janitor. No one was really interested in him, except for a few of his buddies. He was basically a nobody from everyone’s perspective, just another kid who always got himself into trouble.

Almost accidentally, his amazing intellect gets discovered. Suddenly, any people wanted to get on the same train with Will. Dr. Lambeau, an ambitious math professor who wanted to make a name for himself by exploiting the young man’s math prowess. An government organization that wanted Will to crack enemy code. Suddenly, everyone wanted Will for what he could do for them. And yet, no one wanted him for who he was. Except for his new girlfriend, and his new shrink, Sean Maguire, played by the magnificent Robin Williams. Sean saw Will for who he was – a wounded, guilt-ridden young man who was hiding behind a facade of sarcasm and authority-flouting. He saw a good Will Hunting in that boy.

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Mistaken Identity: God the Father, or the Godfather?

The Godfather
Religion has left us with a very wrong picture of Father God. Let me illustrate using two simple scenarios. Let’s see which one you have been taught, and which one you believe to be the truth.

Scenario 1

There’s a certain teenage driver is warned by his Dad that driving drunk would get him killed. The teenage driver disregards the warning, slinks away from his Dad, drives drunk, slams into a lightpost, gets crippled, and dies sometime soon.

Scenario 2

There’s a certain teenage driver is warned by his Dad that driving drunk would get him killed. The teenage driver disregards the warning, slinks away from his Dad, and starts driving drunk. Now, his Dad catches on, and says “let’s teach him a lesson”. He gets into his huge Ford F-350, catches up with his son, and drives him off the road. His son slams into a lightpost, gets crippled, and dies sometime soon.

The outcome is exactly the same. It’s the father’s role that’s different. The first scenario gives us God the Father. The second one gives us the Godfather.
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Meet Jesus Christ, our new CEO

Jesus in the BoardroomIn modern Western Christianity Jesus is thought to be confined to the church’s very limited sphere of influence. That typically includes issues of afterlife, personal morality, interpersonal relationships, and an assortment of marital and sexual issues.

As far as leadership, governance, and financial issues are concerned, those are typically confined to running a registered non-profit, which serves as an organizational shell for a given religious fellowship. Things like national governance, corporate governance, banking system, debt issues, welfare, immigration policies, healthcare, and many others are considered to be the prerogatives of a secular state. And since we accept the idea of separation of “church” and state, many honest-to-God Christians are quite content with such distribution of responsibilities.

So naturally, our Christian worldview is largely circumscribed by this bias, and typically doesn’t go outside of these unquestioned, culturally imposed boundaries.

However, this limited understanding is not supported by the Scriptures.

Here’s one litmus test for your theological prism. When you think about Sodom and Gomorrah and the reason for God’s displeasure with those cities, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? More likely than not, your answer is focused on issues of sexual nature. Now that you’ve answered this first question, then my next question is – are there any other reasons for God’s displeasure with those two cities that come to mind? Anything at all?
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Divine bio-engineering. How Jesus Christ solves the problem of death of fleshly bodies

DEATH ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES SERIES – TABLE OF CONTENTS

Death

Now, after we have disambiguated ourselves of extra-Scriptural meanings, we are in a position to define what the scriptural meaning of death is.

DEATH OPERATES ON THE BODY OF THE FLESH

Death that has been plaguing humanity ever since the fall of Adam operates on the bodies of flesh, and not on spirits. This is stated in the Scriptures quite clearly, but scripture expositors rarely tie this knowledge in with the topic of death, for whatever reason. Sin (dysfunction, being “apart / amiss” from God’s design) operates in the flesh, producing death, as apostle Paul noted most notably in Romans chs. 5 – 8, and this is also noted in a lot of other places in the Scripture as well.

Here are some passages pertaining to sin / death operating on the bodies of flesh:

2 Corinthians 4
11 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members [of the body] to bear fruit to death.

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Into what did the 3000 get baptized on the day of Pentecost

Baptism

I don’t know why this eluded me for so long, but in the past few days I had this hunch about the Acts 2 events, as pertaining to the question of baptism. Here’s an interesting twist that I’ve discovered.

Please follow me through Acts 2, all the way from the beginning of the chapter.

Acts 2
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
[ … ]
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

pay close attention to v. 41. The ones that gladly received the word were baptized, and the same day were added 3000 souls / persons to the number of the outcalled (ekklesia, or church).

All the events in v. 41 – they heard the word, they gladly received it, were baptized, and they were added to the rest of the believers – all of these happened in the same day. That much is 100% clear from the passage. The specific question that I want to address is: can we clearly establish at all, as per the passage, that they were or were not water-baptized? Well, it turns out, we might be able to.
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