A couple of weeks ago, as we were driving somewhere, my son asked me to turn on the song “Zombie” by Cranberries. As we listened to the song, I suddenly was overwhelmed with a sense of profound connection with the entire humanity. I felt connected to all the 7+ billion of people on this planet. I felt completely one with that huge, multifarious organism called “humankind”. That took me by complete surprise.
I don’t think that I have never experienced that sense of unity with humanity before. It was very meaningful to me. A day or two later, I wrote this poem.
The poem’s uneven and somewhat jagged construction and varying rhyming schemes are meant to be expressive of the sense of beauty and diversity which exists in this world. Some stanzas and even some lines overlap and dovetail with one another, and this is done on purpose. This is illustrative of how different persons and people groups dovetail with one another to form one symbiotic organism. The poem’s cadence builds its pace to a crescendo to highlight a sense of urgency before the final stanza.
IMAGE OF GOD
Religion with its plastic smile
Numbs our mind, and rapes our soul,
And leaves a gaping, bleeding hole
Where our heart once used to be.
It builds big buildings. It produces
A stream of talks and printed pages.
It worships books with guilded edges
Which can’t legitimize its crimes.
It lets us keep our greed, our judgments,
To Western sins it dulls our mind
Shuts off compassion, leaves us blind
To human suffering next door,
The 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.
Making the good news of Jesus Christ part of your life story is very simple. Here’s how I see it:
I was born with sin (original, hereditary condition) into a broken world. Jesus came to set me free from both of these. I agree to lay down my life at the feet of Jesus, ask him for his perfect and sinless life.
I agree to receive all the benefits of his finished work on the cross. I pledge to consider all the claims of divine justice against me satisfied through Jesus, from my birth until forever.
I am now born from above. This means that the old me is now dead and doesn’t exist. It’s gone forever. I now consider Christ as being alive in me and living through me.
My first and foremost goal in life is to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ in my thoughts and deeds. I can not do it on my own.
So I ask God for the gift of the Holy Spirit. I believe I receive it for the asking. I now pledge to trust and rely on the Holy Spirit of God who now lives in me to empower me for character transformation, and for the works of service to humankind.
My main motive is now to be love. My mission in life is to love others as God has loved me. I choose to see God’s precious creation in every person, no matter how crooked or vile. My goal is to help them see it too.
I now have to power to lay hands on the sick and see them recover. My thoughts and words now have power. I choose to think, speak, and act as a son of the benevolent King of the universe.
I am God’s ambassador to humankind. Through my ambassadorship, I am part of the system of divine governance, whose goal is to see God’s kingdom realized on earth.
Not allowing ourselves to experience genuine unconditional love of God produces insecure, envious, jealous orphans. Insecure people act out of their orphan spirit, drive by a constant inner dialogue of constant comparison and competition. They project their insecurities outward, and use performance-based acceptance or rejection as two complementary tools of manipulation and control, to achieve desired behavior conditioning from people around them.
Control and Oppression
Once a measure of control is achieved, people who made it to the top strive to build systems that would codify their fictional superiority, thus cementing the injustices, unfairness, and inequality. This gave rise to monarchies, slaveries, cast systems, and various flavors of religious hierarchies. The tools of social conditioning that proved to be very useful, time and again, are shame, guilt, rejection, fear, punishment, and pain. These tools become integrated into various social, cultural, and religious expressions, and with a passage of time they got to be perceived as “normal”.
So many doctrines have been piled on to the simple Gospel that it’s sometimes hard to see the forest behind the trees. Let’s wipe the slate clean and start from scratch. Here’s the big picture, the way I see it.
Adam and Eve were in the garden, perfect, free of any dysfunction in their fleshly bodies, living in a perfect little world free of lack. “Garden” or “park” in Greek is παράδεισος – paradeisos, or paradise. Their benevolent creator Daddy gave them free reign and roam throughout everything. Being fruitful and multiplying was only a part of it. Their job was to rule the earth, starting from the garden on out, and spread that benevolent reign over all of the earth.
Daddy God warned the first couple that they can live a pure simple life or trust, or they can be the judges of good and evil themselves. The latter came with a huge warning. The warning was this: “the day you eat of the tree, in dying shall you die”. That’s in literal Hebrew. (The exact mechanics that involved eating some fruit has little significance for us now, as we look back in time). In other words, something like a virus (i.e., sin) will grab hold of you, which will cause you to run down, get sick, and eventually die. In dying you shall die – that’s both the progressive and the final aspect of death. That’s the law of sin and death for you.
As the result of the fall, the same thing happened in the world at large. Sin (dysfunction) entered into the world, and so lack and scarcity entered into it, and things have been winding down and wearing out ever since (death). The concept of entropy in physics is a prime testament to that.
All of that was not due to God’s cursing his creation. Those were simply the consequences of wrong actions, and they came with God’s warning (Gen. 2:17). Also, post-transgression, God immediately stated the effects of what had just happened (Gen. 3:17).