God: Jesus’ 6 Commandments

Okay, I’ve talked about sin in an abstract way, and repeated myself four times and am still getting the same questions, which means I haven’t been clear.

Also, a lot of my answers were, “This will have to wait until later,” so I’m going ahead with the later, now. I’m going to post two separate posts today, both with pretty much the same theme, but divided based on their scriptural foundations (also because they’re long).

The first is a passage that I’ve been meaning to put here every day for the past week and a half, because of how it applies to things I’ve already said. And, I mean, at least once a day I’d think, “AAARGH! How could I NOT have done that yet?!” style of thing.

In Matthew 5 (yeah, Sermon on the Mount territory), Jesus starts talking about sin, and commandments, and the Law. Jesus starts addressing some of the issues I’ve been talking about — the Godaccountant myth, the role of sin in our lives. He says, right out, that sin is not sin because of a wicked action, but because of the effect it has on who you are as a person — because when you think like a sinful person, you are constructing for yourself a sinful world, rather than a righteous one.

Let’s get right to it:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear [that is, in my opinion, until the distinction between the two disappear when constructed reality comes to an end], not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the law until everything is accomplished.”

By “the Law” I don’t think he’s talking about the laws of the Pharisees, because he goes on to say:

“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of Heaven.”

So he’s calling for a rightneousness above and beyond obedience. Toby and I were talking about this yesterday. Actually…Nicki and I were talking about it, too. By being obedient to a ruleset you can behave (like the Pharisees and teachers of the Law) without ever committing your heart to the underlying truths that MAKE those sins sinful, and those righteous acts righteous. This is what Jesus means when he says your righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law — you must be righteous because you’d LEARNED to be a good person, not just because you’ve avoided doing bad things. Need some examples? Jesus provides.

“You have heard that is was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.”


“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Well what kind of a chance does THAT leave us?

None, under the Godaccountant myth. But it makes perfect sense when you consider it from the point of view I was describing yesterday (in my comments to Nicki on a days old post). Here you have, in two instances, ultimate temporal sinful acts (murder and adultery), and Jesus is saying that the ACTIONS of the sins don’t matter because, long before you’ve committed them, you’ve already committed the real sin in your heart.

What I claimed yesterday was that, by his death, Jesus cleansed us (all humanity, even) from all the eternal consequences of our temporal acts.

(Temporal means “something bounded by time.” It’s a counterpart to infinite. It’s NOT just a typo on temporary, and doesn’t exactly mean the same thing. A life is temporal. The Roman empire was temporal. These things are not necessarily short-lived, except against the backdrop of eternity. Just…to clarify.)

Back to my point. We are already FOGIVEN for murdering anyone we murder. We are already forgiven, by the blood of Christ, for committing adultery. Those actions cannot commit us to Hell — we’ve been redeemed for once and all.

BUT, when we die, we will have to be the kind of person who can say, “Yes, God, I believe in the sanctity of all souls enough to peacefully coexist with ALL of the Saints, for all eternity.” If we have lived our lives, if we have built for ourselves a world in which our own selfishness causes us to take another person’s life, we are not preparing ourselves to be able to make that decision.

We’ll have to say, “Yes, God, I understand the purity of perfect love and the devotion to one love for one person above all others, so I am ready to be submitted and faithful to you for all eternity.” Monogamy is Unnatural. Commitment to one love above all others, for all time, is not a thing of this world. It’s PRACTICE, and practice we desperately need, because when we leave this world with its laws, we enter a new world with Laws that we cannot break, and one of those is utter, self-sacrificing devotion to God’s love. If we have lived our life indulging in our own desires, chasing after every love that can satisfy us, we will NOT be ready to accept God’s one love when the time comes.

It’s not a matter of committing a sin — it’s a matter of BEING a sinful person. A man could lust after a woman once, and delight in it so much, learn so little from the consequences, that he condemned himself to Hell at that moment. A man could spend his whole life chasing every woman he can get his hands on, acting in lewd and terrible ways, and if he realizes in the end that it’s all for nothing, if he really LEARNS that this lifestyle has nothing to offer him, but that there’s another one available (and if he’s learned enough of God’s providence elsewhere in his life to be able to faithfully accept it), then he has lived a good life, in that he prepared himself to accept Heaven.

It’s about Learning, not about doing good. It’s about preparing ourselves to be the kind of people who live in Heaven. That requires trials. That requires suffering. That requires abject misery at times, to truly understand why I can’t GET what I want — I have to take what God gives me, and just trust that that will be good enough.

I promised 6, didn’t I? Okay, you are all familiar with the sins passage in the Sermon on the Mount, and I HIGHLY encourage you to read it through, twice, before you put this post away for the day. I’ll summarize and commentate, though.

Of divorce, Jesus says that there is virtually no condition under which it is acceptable, because the very act of divorce is denying the viability of an eternal, self-sacrificing, dependent love (which is the primary relationship we are supposed to have with God). If you choose to divorce, you are practicing making the wrong decision in Infinity. Got it?

I’ve known people who refused to associate with willingly divorced people because of this passage. How so? Yes, Jesus calls it a sin, but he does this a paragraph after saying the same of being ANGRY WITH YOUR BROTHER! Come on! Jesus’ point is that we are all sinful, every day, and if we can’t learn to get BETTER through the experience, yes, we’re barring ourselves from Heaven, but committing temporal sins is not a punishable offense. That price has been paid. EVERYBODY’s going to fail, again and again and again — the system was set up for that!

On oaths, he says don’t swear to this extent or that extent, but let yes be yes and no, no. Again, because if you have to swear to the truth of something, you’re implying (and believing, and constructing in your reality) that the standard is untruth. If you begin by assuming most things most people say are lies (yourself included), then you are crippling your ability to interact with others, and giving yourself license to lie to others, which cripples the potential of the relationship. By lying, you deliberately keep a relationship from achieving the potential it could — a sin. By swearing an oath, you convince yourself that most of the things said are lies, which has the same effect. In other words, Jesus is establishing clearly that the sin is NOT what you do within this imaginary world, it’s the impact that your thoughts and actions have on who you are as a person.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

This is a very important one, because it’s answering the complaints that are bubbling in all your minds. “But that’s not FAIR!” I know, evil should be punished, and good should be rewarded. The fact of the matter is, we do not want Justice, we could not SURVIVE Justice and, thank God, we don’t ever have to face Justice (at least, not for our temporal actions). All of you that are thinking there HAS to be some punishment for our earthly deeds, are thinking eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. That’s sinful. That’s constructing for yourself a world in which human failure (an in-built trait in our corporal forms) goes unforgiven. You’re constructing a world in which God can’t forgive you for YOUR striking him — for YOUR demanding he go with you where he doesn’t want to go, for YOU taking what is rightfully his out of base selfishness — you are constructing a world where God cannot forgive you for being human.

GOD didn’t make a world like that — he went out of his way to make a world where we CAN be forgiven. Where all of our rebellions against him and demands of him result in him giving us MORE, and acting with more love toward us. If we create a world WITHOUT that potential for ourselves (and legalists do it ALL THE TIME), we are deliberately stripping ourselves of our single greatest potential — Grace. And that is a sin. So we should live as though we BELIEVE in a generous and forgiving universe, in spite of the human failure we have to face every day.

And the last of Jesus’ commandments here, which ends with the most perfect summary.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. [Build for yourself a world in which Love always makes sense. If you hate where it makes sense to hate, you are constructing a world that includes hate. If you love even when it makes sense to hate, you’re constructing a world entirely full of love, which is a much better one to live in, Carebears aside. Continuing:]

“He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collector’s doing that? [In other words, loving those who love you is only constructing a Naturalistic world — that is a temporally logical thing to do, it’s not a Good act, even though it’s not a bad one.] And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

And how many Sunday School teachers stumble over that last line? It’s not a poser. It’s not an impossible command. Because Jesus is calling us to make an Infinite decision. Physical bodies can’t even make that choice, so Jesus isn’t saying, “While you’re alive, do what God does.” He’s telling us to BE like God — again, something we can’t even do while we’re temporal. So we have a lifetime to perpare ourselves for that. We have a lifetime to learn from our mistakes (failing and failing and failing in our quest to BECOME perfect). The perfection will never happen in this world — it’s not supposed to. It’s not natural. When perfection comes, all else will have faded away. All that will be left, are the things we have learned about Faith, Hope, and Love. If you’ve learned enough of these three, you get to go home. Simple as that.

God: Verses

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.

God and Greatness: The Meaning of Life

I feel like I’ve lain enough of a foundation now that I can begin to draw some conclusions. If I’m wrong in this, let me know. I like a challenging comment as much as a supportive one (although I do like a little bit of cheer-leading from time to time, y’know, ‘cuz of the ego).

I’ve got some very contradictory ideas already stated, and Nicki’s called me on them (these particular ones I’m talking about, I mean), and I recognize the contradiction and that’s part of the reason I’m working on this blog. Getting everything spread out and written down makes it a lot easier for me to chase down those conflicting ideas.

Anyway, these particular ideas I’m talking about are the use of magic to construct worlds, the responsibility of Man to live up to his potential, and the inherent wickedness of trying to out-create God.

There’s another question which isn’t immediately related to those things, but which I’ll tie in. That’s this: why would a Christian, believing that Heaven is the ultimate goal of Man, believe that God would create earthly life? What’s the point of life, other than an opportunity for Man to fail, and get stuck in Hell?

It can’t be “to spread the word of God” because if God just skipped the Life phase, everyone would start out in his presence and not NEED to hear the word. It can’t be “to prove he’s worthy of living in Heaven” because we’re told from the start that we’re NOT.

I think it’s just this: Life is a chance for us to get it out of our system.

When transient beings make decisions, those decisions are transient. When infinite beings make decisions, those decisions are infinite. Not in duration, necessarily, but in significance.

We look at the fallen angels as our example. They lived in Paradise (real, whole, base Heaven), and decided that they wanted to rule over dominions of their own, and so they tore themselves away from True Reality to a place where they could make things of their own. And, to all appearances, they don’t get to go back. That’s the infinite decision there.

God created Man, then, with earthly bodies, so that we could test and retest and retest our ability to make a better world. You could even pretend he was being open-minded about it, figuring if we COULD make a better world than his, we deserved the right to it. There will be a lot of people who feel like they have, and they’ll commit their eternal selves to a temporally constructed world. Who knows — maybe they’ll get to have that world for their eternity. It’ll be Hell, in that it’ll be an eternity without God, but it might still be just what they built.

Life is an opportunity to discover, once and for all, that we can’t do it ourselves. To prepare us to accept God’s Heaven forever, once we actually see it. I think everyone is welcome in Heaven (I think the Bible says so clearly), but not everyone is prepared to accept it.

It is possible to live a life, from the beginning, entirely devoted to eternal Paradise. Jesus did. It is…extremely unlikely. It IS possible to learn your lesson early, and every time reality tempts you away from total dependence on God, to return there quickly, as you learn what’s going wrong. Look at Abraham and King David, and even King Solomon. Look what they were given, in this world, for their devotion to and dependence on God’s eternity. And look at Ecclesiastes for a very perfect description of what Life is all about. Life is about learning that everything outside of True Reality is meaningless. Sure it’s fun, sure it’s invigorating, but it’s flash and bang and gone — meaningless.

Most people, of course, don’t even manage the King David route. Some start out that way, but somehow end up tempted too much by their own pride (like Solomon). Some start out brash and bold and self-dependent, but find their way to Paradise-living late in life. Most of us, I think, come and go. Sometimes walking in the light, sometimes walking out of it, and always, always wishing we were walking in the light. Know what I mean?

I think at the end, we’ll all have access to Heaven. I don’t think, at the end, we’ll all have learned enough of our lesson to accept it, even then. Jesus will have redeemed many, many, by his example and his message and his death. People who wouldn’t have believed, or wouldn’t have believed strongly enough, without him, will be able to make the decision to be saved, because of him. Even so…when that time comes, there will be those who will have learned enough to contain their pride, and those who won’t.

Maybe we’ll all get accepted in at the moment of our death, and those who can’t take it will dwindle away over time. Maybe God, infinitely knowing, will cull out those failures before they come in (it matches more closely with the Bible telling, anyway). More likely, I think, we’ll make our own decision, as soon as we become infinite. As soon as we can see clearly, no longer limited by our temporal understanding, we will make an infinite decision. That’s not unfair — it’s the nature of the infinite. And in that moment we’ll decide whether we have learned to be dependent on God, living in Heaven for the rest of…ever, or if we’ve decided that it were better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven.

So…live your life. That is God’s expectation of Man. Not to throw it away, constantly hoping for the next, but to spend our finite time learning all the lessons of trial and error necessary to prepare us to make good decisions, when the time comes. Or, rather, when time goes away.

What then? Shall we go on sinning that grace may increase? By no means. Living your life fully doesn’t mean crippling yourself by indulging in every vice. It DOES mean understanding vices, and what makes them vices. It DOES mean trying things on your own…and learning that it’s just not as good. Life is a playground with sand under the jungle gym. Yeah, we’ll fall from time to time. It’s expected. It’s also protected. It hurts…temporally. It hurts, and then the hurt goes away, and we get to try again.

You don’t really get that in infinity.

So…yes, you’ll fail. Your job, your responsibility, is to learn from that failure, not to surrender to it.

Go, learn, grow. Live and live and live. Death is part of it, too. If there were no death, Life would just be a prison of meaninglessness. As it is, Death is our opportunity to step into the real. Will you?

God story

Remember that scene in the Old Testament, where Elijah is running from the agents of Jezebel, and he’s hiding in a cave, and God comes to talk to him to tell him he’s being a coward?

That’s the whole story, right there. That’s all we needed. It could’ve been a vision from God, it could’ve been an inspiration in Elijah’s heart, it could’ve been anything to get him moving again. We didn’t even need to know WHAT started him back out into the world.

But the story goes into entirely excessive detail, which is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. God comes to speak to Elijah, and you kinda get the impression the prophet is expecting it. So first there’s a terrible earthquake, and the whole mountain shakes from the power of it, but God isn’t in the earthquake. Then there’s…oh, a whole procession of mighty, thunderous things, none of them are God. And then there’s a quiet whisper, a gentle voice telling Elijah what he needs to hear. And that’s God.

Remember that passage? If so, isn’t that an awesome story?

If not…go find it. I don’t know exactly where, and the search will do you as much good as the destination, anyway. Go find that story, and read it. It’s awesome.

God and Greatness: Jesus, Miracles, and Social Constructionism

I very nearly wrote this as a comment on my previous post, but decided it was important enough to merit a post of its own.

It’s important to note that all of my thoughts on God and Greatness, as expressed throughout this blog, began sometime in high school (yes, BEFORE the Matrix), while considering the words of Jesus.

It began at the passage about the mountain and the mustard seed.

Jesus said, “If you tell this mountain, ‘Go and throw yourself into the sea,’ and you have even the faith of a mustard seed, it will do it.” That made a lot of sense to me. Didn’t God, in Genesis, give Man dominion over all the earth? Didn’t Jesus call us all Sons of God? Jesus did miracles. Moses did miracles, too. And Elijah, and David, even, if you want to look at it like that….

After all, isn’t that the point of prayer? That you can, by asking, get a miracle happened? That’s like performing one, no?

Well, that’s how we’re taught the passage. If you ask God for something, and have faith in Him (and if you’re a faithful enough person that what you want meshes with God’s will), it will happen. God will answer your prayer, and move the mountain.

That is…that is not at ALL what Jesus says. It’s not even CLOSE to what he tells his followers.

And reading through his actions, the miraculous things he does, you see two sorts: there are those things he asks God for–and God grants them instantly–and then there are those things that he commands. He commands the injured to be healed, and they are. He commands the fish to have his tax payment in its mouth, and Peter goes and finds it true. He commands the fig tree to whither, because it displeased him. And he tells his followers, “If you command a mountain to move, it will.” And the story of the Bible gives us NO REASON to try to explain that away, as anything other than literal, direct truth.

That’s my basis. There are things that Jesus does as the Son of God. Then again, there are things he does as the Son of Man, and it’s not for no reason that he is called both. Yeah, I did it on purpose to make you read the sentence twice. Paul calls us co-heirs with Christ. Jesus, in the passage with the tax-paying fish, called Peter (and–as I’m not Catholic, I’ll say this–and by extension, all his other followers) equally sons of the king.

This feeds into the Don’t Worry speech in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said, “When the one greater than the Temple comes, what does the Temple matter? Eh?” Reality was made for us, not the other way around. Mountains don’t MATTER. Water doesn’t MATTER. Jesus walked across the surface of the sea, defying reality, but when it comes right down to it, the sea is just a THING. Jesus is the son of God.

And we are too. That was most of his point.

Reality is just a dream we’ve constructed. We, on the other hand, are True Things. We are from a place greater than this, we can reorder EVERYTHING around us because we gave it the order in the first place.

It fits with everything else you’ll read in the Bible. It fits with everything Jesus said. This is not just a sojourn, it’s a fantasy. We have a responsibility to learn from it, to grow in this temporary soil, but it’s not Real. It doesn’t MATTER.

When you look at it like that, miracles are easy. Magic is easy. But, then again, isn’t magic evil? No. I’ll say that immediately and without reservation, no. I’ll go on to say, you shouldn’t do it, but that’s another issue entirely.

Tools are not evil. Power is not evil. What Man does with it…that can be good, or it can be evil, but a capacity for change is not, in itself, morally aligned. Reordering reality can be used to improve people, or to destroy them. That’s true whether you’re using Social Constructionism or bulldozers. Same thing.

That said…I already answered this in yesterday’s post, and Nicki brought it up specifically in her comment. When we attempt to Construct a reality to suit our needs, we tend to build something other than the Paradise God provided. It’s possible to be making something closer to it than the world at large (happy families do it all the time), and that’s a good thing, ain’it, but the most powerful wizard couldn’t match the happiness, or goodness, of a truly submitted Christian.

Hmm. Thoughts. Let me know your reactions.

God: The Fall of Man

This is, in fact, one of my conclusions, several months from now, but I’ll post it now, so you can scoff and ridicule, and several months from now, you can feel sheepish. Because I’m that kind of tyrant.

It is my goal to establish that Social Constructionism (that very Human Greatness that I’m attempting to describe in other conversations) is the “Knowledge of Good and Evil.”

It is my goal to establish that Man, in his rebellion, learned the secrets of world-building.

It is my goal to establish that, upon these premises, we can understand a God who does not create pain or death or suffering in the world, but constantly strives to prevent it.

Also that God keeps no record of wrongs. God is Love, right, and Paul lists it right there with the rest, “Love keeps no record of wrongs,” and how — EXACTLY how — does that jive with the Book of Life, in which some are scheduled for destruction? Eh?

Yeah, I kinda left my pattern there.

That’s the point, though. Where does “Love keeps no record of wrongs” fit into it? What about Jesus, lecturing in the Sermon on the Mount about not worrying? Consider the lillies of the field, and how beautiful are they, and how much more valuable are you, and yet even Solomon in all his glory couldn’t match them.

That one strikes a discord for me. Are you saying (forgive me for getting into theoretical math here, but)

Solomon < lillies < me


I don’t think that’s the point. I think Jesus’ point is that Solomon got it wrong. In all his striving, he couldn’t achieve what the lillies do just by living, in complete submission to God. And, more importantly, any one of us CAN achieve far greater glory than that, by doing the same.

But very few of us could even get CLOSE to what Solomon did, no matter how hard we try.

So it’s all about submission. It’s about giving up. It’s not about works, it’s not about effort, it’s about living entirely in submission to God….

Yeah, nothing new there. And yet….

Go read the Fall of Man. It’s Genesis 3:16-19 (at least the bits I’m talking about here). Oh, fine, I don’t trust you at all, so here’s a pasting:

16 To the woman he said,
“I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”

17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.

18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.

19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”

That’s NIV, and it’s not my preference necessarily, but it’s the first one I found. Read it in your own version, if you’ve got one handy.

Okay, this is where I’m heading with these articles:

God didn’t punish Man by cursing the ground (not even because it was God’s fault). God didn’t cast Man out of Eden. God didn’t hit woman with birth pangs. None of that happened in the passage you just read (although we’ve been taught that it did since we were two).

Here’s what did happen:
God created Man, and made Reality to contain him. He shaped Reality exactly like Heaven.

Man discovered within himself the ability to shape Reality, to make it what he wanted. Man had a perfect example available (Heaven, Eden, it’s where he’d been living for his whole life), but out of pride, chose to create his own, inferior reality, rather than living in perfect happiness in the one God had given him.

“Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven,” and all that.

And God looked down on Man, and saw what he had done, and in his wisdom recognized what Man would do with his power. Now listen closely: at this point, God did NOT punish Man in order to encourage him to grow up better. He didn’t expel him from Heaven to protect Heaven’s purity. He looked down on Man, and said to him, “Look, you have chosen to exercise the ability to shape worlds. You are not God, you are not good enough to make what I made for you. As long as you keep trying to build your own world, it’s going to look like this…” and then he described what life would be like in a Constructed world.

And THAT is what you read, above, in Genesis 3. Not his punishment, not his divinely-inspired, unknowably mysterious justice, but a simple prediction. He said, “This is the BEST you’ll be able to do,” and described what we know as Life. And in sharp contrast to that was the immediate memory of Heaven, in the form of Eden.

Which was still there. Which still is. It’s just submission. It’s just Constructing a world like the one God provided, not like the one we want for ourselves. It’s surrendering. It’s living like the lillies, not living like Solomon.

The angel with the flaming sword? That’s Man’s pride, it’s no agent of God’s. So say I. I’ll get to it, in time.

God, Government, Greatness: The Concept of Sin

Sin: the deliberate prevention of the realization of potential.

Just like that.

I don’t believe in Positive Divine Law (that is, something is Evil because God says it’s evil). I don’t think there are sins that are sins because they’re “against the rules.” It doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t WORK (God MADE people in such a way that they constantly test the limits, they constantly tear at any boundaries around them). Establishing any Positive Divine Law is the same as forcing Man to sin, which is, I believe, antithetical to God.

No. I really don’t believe in “sins” as atomic units. Rather, I think of “sin” as a term meaning, “those actions which prevent us from attaining Paradise.”

Close enough — those people who want to look at it that way could still use that definition to incorporate those atomic sins which, by being committed, keep us from getting to Heaven. Telling a lie — bam! You’ve sinned, so you can’t get to Heaven so, in effect, you’ve committed an action which prevents you from attaining Paradise.

My point with that last sentence was to convince you to accept my definition of sin, so that we can have some mutually-agreed-upon term. From that point, I’m going to establish my position (which you’re most welcome to whole-heartedly reject).

I do feel that the ultimate goal of Man is to attain Paradise. Philosophically, that’s referred to as living the Good Life. Theologically, it’s getting to Heaven. I’m talking about both, but most concerned with the latter.

Okay. So…. There’s a very long argument here, which I should get into exclusively under the topic of God, but I think I can posit a little bit here. The ultimate goal of Man is to attain Paradise, and every Man has the potential to achieve that goal. I believe that utterly, and encourage you to believe the same. Sinning is acting in such a way as to lose your opportunity or, in other words, failing to meet your potential.

Honestly, I feel like the only Evil Thing is deliberately preventing the realization of potential. Whether it be Murder (in which you stop a life, thereby preventing the realization of the ultimate potential, in that every Man, in every moment of his life, has the full potential of the Creator within him), or good ol’ Catholic Sloth (in which a Man, with the full potential of the Creator within him, chooses not to act, not to create, but to waste his potential).

This is my beef with the Church, and with the U.S., and my answer to several of your comments. Yeah, it’s good in it’s current form. Yeah, it’s doing good things in the world, even. It’s successful. But it’s NOT living up to its potential. A church as a social club can be quite helpful to its members, but it’s squandering all the authority given it by its being the embodiment of Christ on earth. NOTHING ELSE GETS TO BE THAT. The church is the only entity with that potential, and it is using that potential in only the smallest of ways.

That I call Evil.

The U. S. as well. Most representative governments, I believe, cater to the lowest common denominator, and that inherently limits the realization of potential. That’s not just something to shake your head over. That’s SINFUL. Every bit as much as Murder.

That’s where I’m coming from. That’s my starting point. You might hear me talk of the “Godaccountant Myth” and think I’m claiming there is no evil, there is no sin, there is nothing barring Man’s entry into Heaven. By no means. I’m just saying: God doesn’t make sins — people do.

Now…I DO have answers to the theological and ethical questions that raises, and I’ll get to them in another article. For now, I’m just establishing my basic concept of sin, which goes a long way to explaining why I feel the way I do about several of the issues I’ve already brought up (spittle flying in my bewildering vehemence).

Hope that helps. More later.


In Loving Memory of God (A Poem)

In Loving Memory of God
The last time that I tore my clothes to shreds
And dressed in sacks, with ashes on my head
And fell upon my knees at Mercy Seat,
I thought of you, my God, and you seemed real.

The last time I placed lamb upon the stone—
A lamb that I had raised by my own hand
And tearfully I slit its precious throat—
I drowned beneath the power of your love.

The last time Holy Wrath made justice real
Before my eyes, condemning sin with fire,
I knew your truth could defeat temptation,
And whispered, “God forgive my vicious heart.”

The last time Heaven bent the world for man
And sickness melted from a broken heart
I watched a friend I’d loved rise from the dead
And felt your awesome name upon my lips.

Where is the Ghost so fiery in our texts?
Where is your magic in the world today?
Where have you gone, or from you where have we?
Or have we killed you at last?

God: Opening Shots

Personal Introduction
And now I’ve come to the one that scares me most. For one reason: Mom and Dad. I invited both of them to read this blog, and I know they strongly disagree with me on my premises here and, most of all, I realize that this is not an issue of differing opinions but of spiritual salvation.

I understand their concern.

However, for the selfsame reason I cannot casually abandon that which I understand to be God’s own Truth, for the sake of a comfortable religion. Not even for the sake of Mom. It hurts.

In the same vein, I have higher hopes of productivity from this one conversation than from any of the others. For, though I will likely never overthrow a government or practice practical sorcery (or even wizardry, but I’ll come to that later), Theology is one of few realms of philosophy in which a concentrated effort to achieve higher understanding may, in fact, significantly improve one’s life. Know what I mean? Quite simply, if I figure THIS one out, it actually makes me a better person.

So, for those reasons, I won’t hide it, and I even invite Mom and Dad to read and argue with me on this. If they do, and you find yourself reading their comments, please bear in mind (as I always do), that they are speaking to their only son, concerning his salvation. That’s…a significantly different thing from most philosophical (even Theological) conversation.

Actual Discussion
I believe in, as we called it in college, an Infinite-Personal God. I confused Daniel with that once, because he hadn’t taken the same classes I had. By Infinite, I mean the usual: Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnibenevolent. By Personal I mean an actual Person. Not a human (for how many of them are Infinite?), but a distinct Person, with Personality and, more importantly, identity. I’ve got no patience with a vague concept of Nature Spirit or Life Force. Without the Personal, it might as well be evil. So say I.

I believe in an interactive God, as well. One that actively participates in our lives and responds to our prayers.

I believe in Christ, and the power of his rising. Specifically, I believe in the story of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. That is, I believe it to be true, and of great significance in a personal, historical, and universal sense.

I believe God made Man in his image, and by this I primarily mean…well, the whole Greatness conversation. Social Constructionism is the “image.” God made Man capable of making worlds. We do it every day. We are Creators, every bit as much as the first God. However, we have exhibited a tendency to constantly chase after pathetic shadows rather than recreating a perfect existence…ack, I’m getting into my Genesis story already, and that’s several articles all by itself.

I believe in Miracles. That’s not a big step, for a Social Constructionist. Faith is the name of the game, there. If we create our own realities, naturally they should be a certain kind of fluid, given a faith-induced flexibility on the part of the Creator (e.g. “us”). Miracles are some of my favorite aspects of my theology: they are exciting, pleasant, potent, easy to accept, and don’t tend to upset anyone.

I haven’t said much upsetting yet. Here’s this: I believe, with religion, we have consistently through every iteration returned to the pre-Christian state that necessitated the existence of a Christ in the first place. I feel we have sanitized Judaism by removing the sacrifice (and, with that sanitation, robbed it of the gold and fire that kept our hearts entranced), but maintained the cold, fictitious feel of rightneousness. I feel every human religion — and in this I include every subtle brand of Christianity — every human religion eventually attempts to place God precisely at arm’s length.

My father’s religion doesn’t do that. My mother’s religion doesn’t do that. But their church’s does. That’s a very important point.

What, then? Ack. I can’t possibly answer every question (not even touching on the basics) in one post, but I can’t do justice to any point without answering every other.

I read in every word Jesus spoke a call to a personal relationship with God IN SPITE OF the governing religion — the religion handed to the people directly by God. This is the story of Jesus. He started with Judaism as a foundation (and I won’t deny the whole canon of Christianity that I use as my own foundation), but he called his followers away from it, to something better. He defied it, for something better.

Not only did he, but all of his followers as well. It was his command.

What does this all mean? I don’t know yet. I certainly can’t say yet. I’ll get to it. I don’t ever see someone going to church and think, “That person is evil for what he’s doing.” Rather, I see this thing, this shadowy, vacant social club, and know what it could be, and grieve that it’s not.

That’s much like what I said in Government earlier. I don’t hate America for being a terrible thing — I grieve that it is only what it is, when it has such potential. I feel the same for the religion of Christianity. It’s not a painted clown (I have far more respect for it than that), but it is also no Christendom, no glowing firebrand to sear the heart and capture the eye. It’s an accountant’s rulebooks, and a mumbled answer, and a carrot on a stick.

I haven’t finished. I haven’t even properly begun. I feel like I’ve said enough to get myself in trouble, but not nearly enough to explain anything. You’ll notice I generally feel that way, throughout these posts — I feel that way at the end of every conversation like it. I’m a Born Christian, and the guilt is strong in me. I often let it get in the way of making my point, which is unfair to me and to those people trying to understand. It’s part of why I’m doing this (and part of why it’s so hard).

Bear with me, please. As I said, this is the most important bit TO me.