Monday, January 28, 2013

I Rest My Case

It is done. There are no words left. The case for God, humanity, Christ, all the great prophets, and planet earth, rests before you. God will act soon, or not. This author is finished discussing the issues at hand.
G.S. Cox

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

An Urgent Request

Oh Lord, hear our prayers, and answer us. We are besieged everywhere. Evil is overwhelming us on every side. In America and all over the globe, power hungry people with no knowledge of you, no kindness, conscience, nor humanity, are overtaking your people. 

All our institutions are corrupted, and the ancient covenants that bound leaders to the people are being torn up. The lawless ones in authority - and out - are issuing laws. Many who have no law in their hearts are the police, judges, and juries. Our economies are failing from regulation, scheming, and theft. We are bankrupt. 

Our religions are fallen, and the good among us are under assault. You ask us to pray for our enemies, and we will. But they still must be separated from us.

Take them out, Lord; remove them from the scene - as you promised long ago. Can the lamb fight the wolf? Can the colt fend off the mountain lion? We ask you to fulfill your promise, O God, that the Last Days will come to an end before all is lost. 

We are in that final day, Lord. Take them out. Or take me out. Do you remember King David's plea? Will you hear it once more?

Psalm 58, of David:
Do you really speak righteously, you mighty ones? Do you judge people fairly? No, you practice injustice in your hearts; with your hands you weigh out violence in the land.

The wicked go astray from the womb; liars err from birth. They have venom like the venom of  a snake, like the deaf cobra that stops up its ears, that does not listen to the sound of the charmers
who skillfully weave spells.

God, knock the teeth out of their mouths; Lord, tear out the young lions’ fangs. They will vanish like water that flows by; they will aim their useless arrows.  

Like a slug that moves along in slime, like a woman’s miscarried child, they will not see the sun.  

Before your pots can feel the heat of the thorns—whether green or burning—He will sweep them away.  

The righteous one will rejoice when he sees the retribution; he will wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. Then people will say,

“Yes, there is a reward for the righteous! There is a God who judges on earth!”

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

God Asks Us To Be More Than Human

We live in an age of superheroes. Spiderman, Iron Man, Batman, Cat Woman, and others, are hugely popular fictional figures, globally. Religion used to be the source of superhuman images, but modern technology demanded its own. The Hindu religion, particularly, has many gods who are similar.

Although it's not often seriously discussed, every major religion recognizes the existence of angels, who, according to Scripture, sometimes intercede to help human beings.  This author has experienced that contact, and it's a breathtaking honor. Perhaps you have had that contact, too, but never knew it. Angels sometimes appear as kind and helpful strangers; ordinary people.

We humans yearn to be exceptional and powerful. Mythological heroes exist in every culture, and have been around for at least 5,000 years, so they obviously fulfill a human need. Hercules, Perseus, Diana, Athena, and Jason still appear in popular films.

God wants us to be superhuman. We have the capacity to do a great deal more than just eat, sleep, work, and procreate.When the world was still a wild and unmapped wilderness, humankind had the opportunity for adventure and the extraordinary life. Sadly, the modern world has no practical wilderness left to explore. Google Maps shows us every bit of it. Sure, one can still go to New Guinea or Outer Mongolia for adventure, but only as a vacation. A miserable vacation of steaming, dangerous, bug-infested jungle; or vast, empty, flat grasslands. There are no places left to legally settle and build a community.

From time immemorial, western expansion served as a safety valve for societies pressured by expanding populations and dwindling resources. Now there is no longer that safety valve, and the adjustment to this reality is fraught with peril.

So what can we do? We only have the inner world left to us. Our hearts and minds. Pray to God and connect. Dig your own well, so to speak. We each have an inner conduit, deep down, that we can use to reach our Creator. You've seen it in your dreams. This is the great value of meditation and prayer.

We can become superhuman by not giving in to anger, greed, sadism, selfishness, gluttony, sexual promiscuity or masochism. These are all human qualities that cause us grief, pain, and suffering. Our lives will be immensely improved if we cut them out of our behavior. And it will please God at the same time.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist; Who Is Greater?

For thousands of years religious wars have been waged and perpetuated by the belief that force can persuade people to love our God and Creator, or defend us against alien and corrupt ideas. Even among Christians - who are taught that non-violence is best - the sword, arrow, and bullet have often been  unleashed in battle to the death. 

Truth be told, religion is usually just an excuse, a fig leaf, that covers the real motive. Land, money, and power are almost always the cause of wars. If the combatants really knew or believed in God, they would tremble at the evil they were sowing and unleashing against themselves. All religions have been used in this way, and it's probably impossible to judge which are worse or better than others, historically. War is a fact of life on earth, and all nature is "red of tooth and claw". The animal and insect kingdoms are in a constant state of conflict, and have been since the dawn of time.

The dream of a Utopian society without war is just that, a dream. Some wars just have to be fought. As it says in Ecclesiastes, "To everything there is a season... and a time for every purpose under heaven... a time for war, and a time for peace..."

Does God favor one religion over another? Are some people destined for a higher realm because of their religion? Perhaps, but we cannot know for certain. What we can all probably agree on, however, is that the spirit in our hearts and our conscious wish to find goodness, peace, and mercy will carry us very far in our journey toward God. This is what counts most. Money, power, and property can't go with us, and they don't count in the Heavenly Record Book. A clean heart, a clean mouth, and a record of giving love to others do count in that book.

Jesus was challenged often on this point. In the New Testament, Mark 12:28, it's written, "One of the teachers of the law [a rabbi] came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, 'Of all the commandments, which is the most important?'

'The most important one,' answered Jesus, 'Is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this,: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.'"

Very simple. All the great religions of the world could conceivably qualify. But who are our neighbors? "Love your neighbor as yourself" was a commandment of Old Testament law from Leviticus 19, interpreted by rabbis of that time to mean that you need only love members of your own religion or nation. Jesus is clear in Luke 10:25 that all men and women are our 'neighbors'. This is one of the greatest attributes of Christianity, and the reason it achieved such heights of success. All people in the world have intrinsic value, regardless of wealth, family, power, race, religion, or social position. 

Additionally, who is this God Jesus refers to? In the Judeo-Christian world, God is a loving, merciful, forgiving Creator of all things. Many other religions also see God this way. But in the end, it's you, the believer and seeker, who must "wrestle with God" to find out who, exactly, is this object of your worship. Why is there suffering, and why would a loving God allow it?

Check out the answers in this essay on the Book of Job, by Chesterton..

We are saved by our faith and the spark of spirit in our hearts. 

Have a very Happy New Year!