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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Should Be Simple

Another one of those seasons of angst it seems. Fear,holiness,obedience,justice,grace.forgiveness.love. These are all the heavy hitter themes within the Bible. I just don't know why I have twisted myself like a pretzel for so long. As i think back, i know my whole perception of reality was affected by my dads death. I have somehow tried to come to grips with it ever since, and i really never have in a certain sense. Faith in God and Jesus as overcoming death and giving eternal life is the answer. But then so many variants end up entering in, especially emotionally. One place it says *the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom* Then in New Covenant it says, *perfect love casteth out fear* The Old Covenant contains many incidents of severe judgment resulting in death and destruction, one just because a man slipped while carrying the ark of the Covenant. The New Covenant also contains some severe judgment and death, like Ananias and Sapphira.

Is hell as we have come to traditionally accept it or is it referring to the valley of Hinnom and was only meant for the jews Jesus was seeking to save since He was sent as He said to the *lost sheep of Israel*??? When Paul said *all Israel would be saved* does that mean Jesus was able to reconcile all of us back to Himself??? Does He love regardless of times of doubt and unbelief??? Does He use that to bring maturity?? How does He feel about a lifetime of bouncing between maturity,immaturity,weak faith,growing faith,wondering just what is going on??

I don't know. I committed my life to following Jesus and seeking to love God, my neighbor and myself, but i have had such a crummy time doing it so often. Do we all feel that way on and off?? How could my atheist roommate have said I was the best example of a christian he knew if i was so crummy at living it out??? Why have I felt so fearful of God all lifelong, so hard to internalize grace and perfect love, although I can realize it and recognize it for others and the genuine reality God wants it to be??? i know alot of this comes from sexual stuggles, having sought pleasure in ways that are not within a marriage relationship, just having sought pleasure as an escape from pain, even after i knew better. i have seen others share on this, but it just feels like an anchor holding me down, that i should never have done it ever to begin with.

i am just kinda rambling here, letting out the pain and struggle inside currently. Do most of us have this same stuff happeining inside that we hold in?? Like i said to title this it should be so simple. Lead me to love God....to love and love and love..

Sunday, October 24, 2010


To interpret or not to interpret not even a question. Interpret we must if we are to be functioning humans. How to interpret, ah now that is a good question to ponder. Just how do we decide our mechanism of making an interpretation?? What prism do we pass our thoughts through as we do our interpreting?? The study of hermeneutics is entirely devoted to this. I think this is an area sorely lacking as far as spending time at a basic level seeking to learn how to understand the intricacies and varying modes involved in doing so.

Always so many questions swirling in my head, lots of different answers as well. lol. Do we interpret literally because its easiest?? Because authority and tradition say to do so?? How do we decide what genre of language is being used in the Bible?? The word yom denotes creation in Genesis. The question is, in Hebraic mindset, did yom mean a 24 hour day or a long period of time?? No matter which interpretation you choose to accept, various associations are at play in helping you reach your conclusion. No wonder predestination/freewill are endlessly debated to no consensus- they both are true alongside each other, like a double helix dna strand. Again, that is an interpretation!!

How does God aid us in interpreting?? What role does the Holy Spirit play?? Does the Holy Spirit lead in a variety of interpretations, as could be deduced by the plethora of denominations existing??? Does God just acquiesce to our humanness in letting us come to many varied interpretations??Are there some that supercede others??

Christianity is not a religion but a relationship. That bumper sticker has been around a long time now. Taking it as true, it lays groundwork for varying impact depending on how we interpret its meaning. The Gospel is the Good News of Jesus Christ. As christians, we are called by God to share this Good News via evangelism. The goal of evanglism is conversion to Jesus Christ. Many christians feel pressure, be it internal or external, to *make converts* the effect of this pressure can lead to turning evangelism into a sales pitch, and you just want to close the sale and get the customer to sign on the dotted line. Is this what Jesus meant by the Great Commission though??? Did he want to have us telling people they better convert asap or they will burn in an eternal hell?? Did He want us to bypass any semblance of establishing relationship at all to just get them to the end result??? Saying the sinners prayer or raising a hand as a sign you want to accept Christ are not in the Bible. Hmmmm, then again neither is the word trinity......ponder that one lol

I hope to write more on thinking about thinking. God gives us a lot more freedom than we want Him to i think as i survey the landscape. Hopefully hear thoughts of any who may stp in and read here.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Examine is a good word, a good process. We learn when we examine, whatever it is we choose to make the object or subject of our examining. I have come across some things which have led me to reexamine satan and hell. I have posted on this a few times before, but like to repeat as I have read and looked into things a lil more.

Satan = adversary. Actually in the hebrew it is ha satan which is a function and not a proper name. The Bible is filled with many genres of language and uses of words, some definitely NOT meant to be taken literally. Where do we get the notion satan is a supernatural fallen angel??? I see that hand yes yes many will say the Bible of course!!! O really??? Hmmmm let's just see. It is widely held that satan appears in Genesis as possessing the serpent/snake to tempt Adam & Eve. However, satan is never mentioned here. Look at what happens after the fruit is eaten. Adam blames Eve, Eve blames the serpent, why does the serpent not blame satan??? Many infer satan was in the serpent I think because of that verse about bruising him on the hell and him crushing your head. Was this a prophecy of Jesus victory over satan???

In Luke 20:35,36 it says angels do not die. If we look in the book of Revelation we find where it says the fiery furnace prepared for the devil and his angels will swallow them up. How can this be if angels cannot die??? Devil = slanderer or false accuser, angel= messenger, not neccesarily a heavenly one. God said before He sent the flood in Noahs day that He was sorry he had made man for all he did was evil. Why would He not have been sorry for making satan and the other fallen angels??? If satan were the foulest,most vile and evil being in existence, why would God let him and his cronies have unlimited access to humans and have the power to damn us to hell with him??? Why would God allow satan any kind of power considering what he had become???

The Bible is filled with statements that make satan appear to be a spiritual being roaming around preying on all he can. What if those statements were descriptive and personifications however??? Like in Proverbs 8, declaring Wisdom to be a woman??? If we look closely at Romans we will find Paul saying Adam brought sin into the world, not satan. Sin is our enemy, and Gods enemy and sin is Gods adversary. Adam, which means man, represents all of us and how we all make the same choice as he and Eve to disobey God and choose selfish desires. Jesus came to earth as a human, a baby, born from the womb just like we are. He was fully human and He was tempted in every way as we are- yet WITHOUT sin!!! Jesus destroyed sin and death by His perfect obedient life, His death and resurrection. He gives us His life which overcomes our sinful nature and thus we take on His life in us, maturing day by day as we seek to live by faith and the Holy Spirit.

If there is no supernatural fallen angel then what is hell??? Why is there hell?? Could it be that Jesus referred to the valley of Hinnom and the gehenna fire which the jews knew symbolized Gods judgment upon their apostasy and sin as He had performed in the Old Covenant days??? Could the book of Revelation be talking about the end of the Old Covenant which happened historically in AD 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple???

Many others have written on these matters before. I am just piecing together things as i have been reexaming myself. What do you think?? Make sense??? heresy??? Hope to hear!!!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Thoughts Once More

We are all like onions aren't we??? Many layers to peel away. No snowflake is exactly the same as any other right??? I would guess then the same is definitely true for us humans. We all do have alot of the same experiences,same likes and dislikes and emotions. But none are exactly the same. It is so strange to me how we all are here living this life we have been born into, and that there can be such a grand canyon like divide between believers and atheists. The exact same experiences can elicit completely opposite reactions in people and their belief about it. Some are driven toward God and others driven away.

I think about this in a very introspective way because of own craziness in some ways. We all face all kinds of twists,turns and challenges in life. Some are far more extreme than others but they happen all the same. Death is linked to life. You can't die unless your alive to begin with. Physical death must have happened before the sin of Adam & Eve right??? No dinosaurs in Eden. So, just what death did they die once Eve ate and gave it to Adam and he ate also??? It says their eyes were opened and they became aware they were naked. So what condition were they in prior to their eyes being opened??? They were not separated from God because He watched over them after removing them from the garden, and He stayed involved in the lives of their descendants as we see in Genesis. Was the story of the Fall really just that??? A story meant by God to portray a deep truth and reality He chose not to make known explicitly???

There is the beginnings of a new interest in discovering if we can know for sure Adam and Eve were actual historical beings or archetypes. After all the name Adam means man. Difficulties being faced by deciding Adam was not a real person in history include: the genealogies,cain and abel,Pauls theological comparison between Adam and Jesus. Some scientists ascertain that we could not have all spawned from a single couple. Just how do we determine what is true?? Or, is it something that ultimately is taken on faith and cannot be proven irrefutably either way???

Hope these thoughts inspire your thoughts :)

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Perfect Love

Feeling the pain of not *getting it* again. Mariams comments make so much sense and reflect my beliefs as well, but my feeling/experience so differ. What keeps me from experiencing Gods perfect love?? Why is there a fear of punishment still??? Is it because all the stories in the OT about God judging people with death??? Is it because I have the calvinist views inside that say I may not be elect and not know it??? A mixture of all kinds of things??

How do I just believe and trust God period??? Sounds so stupid when i write that as i have been living my life since 16 doing that, seeking to best i knew how. This goes back to my question about what is *being human*??? Jesus places the bar at a height impossible for us to ever reach right??? Wasn't that the whole purpose of the Law?? To show us we could not do it??? ever??? So,why are faith & obedience made into a newer version of the law then??? If we don't have enough faith or obedience we may lose our salvation. UGHHHHHH!!!!

Repenting is a change of mind/direction. But, we all commot habitual sins right?? We confess them and repent again and again. We have times where we doubt any of its real right??? Just going crazy inside myself wanting to be free to just trust and have the attitude of gratefulness no matter what, even if God slays me or has me go through various sufferings. I guess its so hard because this has been what i have sought to avoid and made that decision deep deep inside after my dad died. I pray to have this trust and sure enough the old tapes start to roll and my fear thoughts appear- *gonna die*, *gonna suffer real bad* , your heart is gonna stop and your gonna be buried and never escape feel suffocated forever*

These are the thoughts that cause the feelings that torture me. God tells me to trust Him and know these things are not true!!!! i believe Him, so why do I struggle alot with believing Him and acting like these thoughts are true and real?? Help me God to experience trust and give it to You with my entire being!!!

Saturday, October 02, 2010


My friend mariam left a comment a lil bit ago which was really good. She quoted one of my favorite books by M Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled. His opening line is that life is difficult. I wonder if that truly is one of the most profound as well as most simplistic statements all at once ever made??? How long does it take us to realize life is difficult?? I think babies may even sense it but dont have the ability as yet to express it.

BioLogos Forum is a very cool website seeking to unite faith and science. They derive from the same Source after all- God. They do have quite a bit of controversy though. They declare God used evolution in creation. They declare Adam and Eve were not literal,actual people but metaphorical representatives of our actions as humans to assert our will over Gods. They declare a large part of the stories in Genesis are not meant to be taken literal and this is Gods intention as well. They do this as believers who accept and trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and who do hold to the Bible as Gods Word- just not in a fundamentalist way.

Trusting and obeying God in humility and love. That is the ideal isn't it?? yet, all of us, even the most devout of saints, struggle with ourselves and living this out do we not??? 1 John tells us if we confess our sins we will be forgiven and cleansed. He is talking to believers. So, we have to commit sins in order to be forgiven right??? The nazarenes have a doctrine called the exchanged life where they believe one can actually achieve moral perfection in this life. What were they smoking??? LOL I cannot concieve of anyone doing that, other than Jesus.

So many questions and wonderings which have arisen from things i have read poring through the blogosphere. Scores of people have testified God was silent and unresponsive in a way they wanted Him to be when they were going through times of great distress and pain. Why??? Scripture tells us to cast all our anxieties and troubles upon Him because He cares for us. His peace that passeth understanding is promised if we pray with thanksgiving and supplication. Where is it??? Where is His perfect love??? He doesnt want us to pretend does He?? If we really are struggling and doubting He wants our honest reaction doesnt He???

i ask these things like the Psalmist, sending them out to God. Like mariam shared in her message, God may very well appear and respond the most when we are most desperate and helpless in ourselves. I know i have experienced this before, more than once. It just seems the cloud that covers over head blots those realities out in a large way when i am in the midst of it, and i wonder why I can't just have a magical pain reliever that will just releive all the angst and hurt and questioning and let me relax and sing kumbayah. Its good to be able to lament.

Increase Our Faith

This was the cry of Jesus disciples after He spoke several parables in a row to them. Right after Jesus said to forgive anyone who sins against them and comes back saying they repent of it. Jesus reply was all is needed is faith the size of a mustard seed, which is the tiniest of seeds. WOW. So, they ask Him to increase their faith, and He tells them a teeny tiny amount is enough?? What is He saying about the amount of faith they had??

I like to ask questions out loud, helps my mind to think through things more clearly. When I read the Bible and take many things at face value, all is hunky-dory. But, thoughts and perceptions happen that make it not so simple. I realize bad things happen. Pain,suffering,disease,hardship,death. I wonder why,and then i wonder why not to me, or when is my turn?? Always seems like a merry-go-round of trying to stay focused and singleminded on seeking God and His kingdom. Job told his wife after he had suffered all the calamity, *shall we accept good from God and not trouble?* This goes along with his proclamation, *yea though He slay me yet will I trust in Him* Those are such powerful words, showing a complete and utter abandonment to God no matter what He does.

This is why fear has been such a strange thing for me. It always casts a lingering shadow no matter where i go. But God also provides an opposite shadow, reminding of His Presence and promise. My mind drives me crazy though when i experience fear or doubt or depression or anxiety. It loves to prod me telling me I once again lacked faith & obedience in God. How do i escape this?? Its my own mind always!!! Then, God supplies times where i can just realize His Presence,Love and Grace. He is with me even in those times where my fear and weaknesses are on a rampage inside me.

Does He actually use those times of fear,doubt and dread to draw me back to seeking Him?? Does He regard me with His same exact love no matter what uneasiness i experience subjectively?? I want so badly lots of times to just have a feeling like on Christmas or Easter, just the excitement and joy of the day!!!! Maybe He wants me to realize He doesnt need me to have that emotional *high* all the time??? Why do I continuously seek after it?? Maybe i confuse seeking Him with seeking His peace???