The Song of the Bow

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(This is actually an excerpt from my book on divorce that I modified to fit into a broader perspective:)

“Then David chanted with this lament over Saul and Jonathan his son, 18 and he told them to teach the sons of Judah the song of the bow; behold, it is written in the book of Jashar.” -2 Sam. 1:17

Most of us are much more familiar with THIS part of the Song…

          “How have the mighty fallen, And the weapons of war perished!”

But I want to point out just one more part of this passage…

“For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
The shield of Saul, not anointed with oil.”

I actually heard this verse proclaimed on national television once in lieu of a famous televangelist that had been caught in a scandal…most of us can quote the “how the mighty have fallen” part but we do not realize what is going on in this song…

The back story is that David had just learned of the death of Saul and Jonathan, the message bearer supposed this would be good news to David because of the animosity between the House of Saul and David, however the messenger was wrong.

My current journey in faith has me exploring the amazing story of Gods grace for us, a grace so large that most of our spiritual warfare and push for revival seems a distraction…I have spent years in intercession, warfare and deliverance ministries and I am not ready to discount that stuff, however at this point in my journey I have decided that anything that involves my efforts is meant by Gods design to be an exploration of joy, so all those things, the battle, the demons the what-not, MUST find quotient in Gods design for joy in my life…in other words I am done working outside of Papa’s grace…I don’t care how powerful the truth is…if Papa is not in it for me, I don’t have time for it.

But something popped up on my Radar today that involves this truth as the Lord led me into it several years ago…and let me walk you to the stream…

For the longest time I would read the song of the bow as a lament, and the lament was seen as a cry of sorrow over the loss of Saul and Jonathan, but mostly Jonathan…I read the phrase “The shield of Saul NOT anointed with oil” as an indictment of Sauls life, a life where he had lost connection with God and had lost the anointing…I read the passage as a warning for us to stay connected to the anointing, to stay current in our relationship with the Holy Spirit or else we would fall like Saul did…

But as I explored divorce I discovered that everyone I knew (including myself) had experienced massive grief in the divorce process…even in instances where it was clearly the Lord delivering someone from a dangerous partner and a life of lesser hope I saw that everyone experienced grief and I was not happy with the world/psycho-babble approach to go through the six steps and finally be over it…

In my studies I had explored two distinct subjects, the Hebrew culture and ancient warfare…these two foundations began to inform my perspective a little differently.

In Hebrew culture (and most Eastern Cultures) mourning is a normal and healthy part of life…we in the West have no real concept of mourning…as I explored it I found many Biblical passages instructing us to mourn and one in particular that shocked me…

Pauls solution to blatant sexual sin in Corinth was not counseling, not Sozo Ministry, not deliverance and warfare…his solution was separating from the person involved in sin and then MOURNING…this is not something we actually teach much less do…

How many marriages could be saved if instead of sending people to counseling and spending months ministering to them the church instead would get on the carpet and mourn?

I know this approach was never used in any of the marriages I was close to including my own…I have sat through hours and hours of marriage counseling only to watch as the sin eroded and ate away identity until divorce was the only way to save our souls…

We don’t like to mourn…and often we find intercessors who will cry out for revival and seem rather morbid and “to emotional” for the average fellowship…but what if there was something missing in our culture that mourning churches could heal?

Just asking…

(And to be fair feasting occurs much more in scripture than fasting, so any mourning should be temporary/a season at best.)

Of course with any truth if I cannot find reflection in Jesus I have to question its placement in my life…and true to form I do find Jesus not only mentioning mourning in the beatitudes but also actually mourning for Jerusalem…so yeah mourning is a valid New Testament practice and no ever teaches about it…at least no one I have read…

The challenge that changed my perspective came a few years ago…I was writing about mourning in divorce as something to help heal the process and the Lord asked me:

“What do you suppose David is mourning?”…

My normal response was the death of Saul, the loss of the kingdom in battle, and of course the loss of Jonathan…but it was the next question that changed my understanding…

“Who’s job was it to anoint Saul’s shield with oil?”…and suddenly the light went on…

In ancient cultures it was the armor bearers job to keep the shields oiled and ready…the shields in Israel at that time were most likely hide or leather, remember the Philistines had driven out all the blacksmiths and metal workers so Saul’s’ shield would not be like our Greek, or European metal/bronze devices they would be more like the Native American armaments and those particular shields required soaking in oil in order to keep them from being brittle, they would actually anoint the shield until it was heavy and the oil would add protection, but if they were not oiled they became dried out and brittle, eventually cracking and allowing darts and arrows to penetrate….

and David was Saul’s armor bearer…(1 Samuel 16:21)

David as much as anything in this song is mourning the fact that because of broken things he was unable to complete his covenant as Saul’s armor bearer, it was his job to keep Saul’s shield oiled and ready for battle and because of the division between the houses, David was unable to complete his assignment.

This became the direction in divorce that I realized grief was supposed to take, every divorce is a fractured covenant, and it requires two people to be in covenant…unfortunately as things fall apart it becomes impossible for you to do your part of the covenant, and the song of the bow is a reminder that what was designed to be a mighty testimony has fallen into ruin…and no matter what the conditions for the divorce, you had a responsibility that you can no longer do…the proper biblical response is to mourn (at least for a season).

God will not give us something we will not love…if you want a city, a nation, an assignment it will require your heart being enlarged so you can love the target of your dream…and when Gods love shows up it also brings Gods perspective…His eyes to see the original design, His heart of passion…and perhaps this is where we get to participate in healing the land…maybe as we mourn for the loss of original design we can release something to bring change…before David unites Israel, he mourns Saul’s Kingdom fall…maybe the kingdom we are promised is waiting for the floodgates of the heavens to be opened up…maybe our tears prime the pump…I dunno.

I wonder how much “revival” and cultural shift could happen if we stopped complaining about empire and started mourning instead…mourning the loss of jobs, the poverty, the crime, the political spirit that has hijacked much of our culture…

What would happen in churches if we started mourning the systems that abuse, the lack of transparency, the lack of prayer, the show, passivity, the system that created distance and delay for the average believer sitting in the pew?

What would happen if instead of politicking against same sex marriage we mourned the loss of Gods image in men and women? Instead of complaining about gun control we mourned the incredible loss of life that happens daily in minorities?

What would God give us if we mourned with the widow and the fatherless, the hopeless and the alien?

I am not a fan of sadness and mourning…but in order to get past it…we might have to embrace it…

“Blessed are they that mourn…” its a promise…and maybe a pathway…

 

 

Living with contradiction

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Cha cha changes

When I stand back and look at the world around me, including the world of the church I am struck by the massive and immediate changes we are experiencing, and many of us seem to sleep through the huge and monumental shifts that are taking place before our very eyes.

Technology is astounding in the development of new products, medicine is on the verge of eliminating cancers and deadly diseases, communication is instantaneous with just about any place in the world, some of it borders on “magic”, 100 years ago this technology would have made you a wizard or worse, but it is so common place that even third world countries have cell phones these days.

I gave my grand-kids a camera that in 2000 cost me $700.00 and used a floppy drive to store the pictures…it was 1 mega-pixel…my current cell phone is several magnitudes better in both storage and quality…and I don’t even have to insert a card or stick or any other device to transfer the digital data to a different place…it does it automatically on its own, syncing between my iPad and laptop and cloud accounts…and it cost me 1/3 of the price.

This is astounding…

The same level of changes are happening in the church and across nations…we are in an accelerated season of change and many are completely unaware, happy to just watch on with mildly amused interest.

Plotting Reality

In order to accurately plot a trajectory you need an origin and a few points past that…and “origins” has been a new direction in much of the church culture…there are movements back to Hebrew roots…movements back to first century church models, movements back to Biblical Architecture, there is APEST, House Church, Torah, YHWH, Shabbat, away from “pagan-Christianity”, I even saw a recent (and serious) movement to have women cover their heads in worship…(please don’t get me started)…my point is this…much of the church is trying to recalibrate what reality should look like since the world we know is changing so quickly.

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’ ”– The Velveteen Rabbit

There comes a point in both technological change and historical change where saturation creates its own wake, at this point history is “immediate”…we just assume these things have always been and they become part of the landscape…consider the fall of the Berlin wall, it is now such a long time into our history, that the event has become just a moment in history, but for those living in that moment it was a huge tipping point of change.

I suspect we will look back in a few years and see the trajectory and it will dawn on us that we were in an incredible moment of history and slept through much of it.

In my own journey I am trying to track my origin to something beyond even the first century…I am discovering my origin in the heart of the Father before the creation vignette gets moving…He knew my frame, saw my unformed substance while I was yet in my mothers womb…I am discovering the image of God imprinted upon my identity in Christ before it was lost in Adam…

Recently I went in to a local restaurant to pick up a “to-go” order for my daughter…in the booth was a group of elderly mentally challenged adults…eating ice-cream…making a general mess of things and under supervision…and it forced me to ask the Father “Where is your image in those people?”

If the purpose of Jesus was to rescue the image of God that was lost in humanity, then in every person alive there is a residue, an echo, a vibration of Gods beauty, His generosity, His compassion, His smile and kindness…

This contradiction has become my new reality…

This contradiction  has become a game I play with the Father, or rather He plays with me when I am unsuspecting…when I went through customs into Cuba and was questioned by the Intimidating Official as to why I was there…the whole time I could not help but smile because the Father was laughing inside of me saying “He’s so cute, you should have seen him as a child, he used to chase butterflies”….God apparently has no issue with the contradiction…And living with contradiction is becoming the trajectory of life for most of us…

…the church is described as a building a holy temple, yet it is a body, the two could not contradict each other more…

 We have the mind of Christ, but are told to renew our minds…

 We are local , yet our citizenship is from heaven…

 To be great we must become the least…

Things are to be done decently and in order, yet we may all prophesy…

 We are living in both the greatest opportunity for financial success and on the brink of imminent destruction economically…

 We have incredible freedom, but also seem to be increasingly under surveillance…

 

Contradiction.

We are getting used to it…and this is one of the things we need to adjust in our thinking, what level of contradiction are you willing to accommodate and in what areas is it acceptable?

The issues of women and authority, same sex partnerships, deliverance and reality, capitalism and poverty, taking care of the planet and freedom, all of these things are going to come up as contradictions…

For me…the trajectory is going all the way back to the greatest contradiction in history…the cross…where an innocent man was crucified and His blood speaks of greater things than all the blood of all the martyrs before him…

The blood of all the martyrs called for justice, screamed for vengeance, but the blood of Jesus shouts contradiction at us, declaring to the guilty “you are innocent, Father has forgiven you”…

Gods plan somehow swallowed up contradiction…I haven’t got my head around it, but it is bursting from my heart…which of course is just another contradiction I need to live with…

Place not Pace

One of my more immediate conversations with the Father has Him constantly driving me gently to “Be still”…He has used live bee’s and dreams to reinforce this lesson…I have stepped on bee’s and had them land on me in the oddest places, showing up unexpected to remind me of my current assignment…even in places where bees do not exist…

“Be still…”

Be…

And yet I am also moving at a faster pace in life than ever before…racing towards destiny and life changes at a reckless and unplanned pace…several years ago I was in an experience where the Holy Spirit took my scroll of destiny, jumped in a red race car and drove like a madman from Heaven to earth with me hanging on for dear life…all the while He was laughing and saying:

“Like a rushing wind, Hahahaha!”

In learning to be still I have had to ask how, because my mind will not be, and the answer I got re-calibrated most of my understanding…

“Being still is not about pace, its about place”…

Another contradiction…I am learning to live with…

The Sound of Gods eyes…

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This man in the picture is Sergio, we will get back to him in a minute…he is one of the most beautiful sons I have have ever met. (you can click on the picture to biggify)

Worship

When we arrived for the first meeting we were ushered to the front and given seats like celebrities, something that I was a little uncomfortable with…but later I understood as the attempt to honor us as guests…my preconceived notions of what “church” would be like were not really to far from the reality, I expected a high level of joy and praise and Leann had told us the worship team was top-notch, but I was unprepared for how good they really were.

I’ve led worship, been on teams and had bands for nearly 30 years so I know immediately when a team is “tight” by how fluid they are with one another, this worship team (which was led by a 26 year old Pastor and song-writer) was probably one of the best teams I have ever seen together, they changed instruments seamlessly, I saw at least 3 different people play the one keyboard, with musicians alternating and filling in other spots, running the computer for the overheads, switching from Djembe to drums, to guitar to keys, all without the slightest bit of distraction…unless of course you were a musician and knew how difficult the invisible transitions actually were.

(To get the music they do here is the iTunes: Cuba Te Canta )

I was immediately drawn to the bass player, his ability was clearly professional, but he played in such an unassuming posture, and the entire worship time his eyes were closed, he would get subtle little clues from the keyboardist who would gently tap his elbow or arm…later I would hear his story but for the moment I could not help but be drawn to him and recognized something of a kindred spirit inside this man, I did not know what it was but it made me weep even before I met him.

So here’s the story related to me from the Worship leader himself:

The worship team had a problem…the bass player had found a job opportunity that required him and his wife would no longer be available for the team, so the rest of the team went to the head leader to ask for advice…”Do we try and find a bass player”, they asked…”No I think we just wait on God and see what He does” this was the advice they heard and followed…

A few days later they were practicing and heard a knock at the door…they stopped playing and opened the door to find Sergio standing there…”Can I just come in and listen? he asked…

“Of course” and they made him feel at home and welcome…

Enter Sergio:

Sergio was a bass player, Rastafarian, with dreads and beads in his hair, also deeply into Santeria, the demonic blend of African/Haitian voodoo religion with Catholicism…his life was a mess, he had been promised a world of travel and success but the reality was he was continually ripped off, lied to and had tried on three separate occasions to commit suicide, throwing himself in front of trains or drinking himself to death. His practice in Santeria was well known and many came to him for spells and visions which he was adept at…but he was hopeless.

Later as they began to talk to him they found out he was homeless living on the street, hungry, hurting and needing more than anything to discover the love of His Father that was waiting to explode upon him from this group of worshipers…

I heard the story of Sergio’s deliverance firsthand from Eddie who was the primary worship leader, but Eddies main passion is *Sozo ministry…there were amazing events and remarkable healing that took place as the Lord restored His lost son to his true identity.

Sergio the Son

Sergio is now a prophet…Eddie loves to team up with him in deliverance and Sozo ministry, and to be fair Eddie is one of the most wise and powerful deliverance ministries I have ever met, he has tracked with all the healing and deliverance teachings and has a passion for it unlike anyone I have met, he loves to see people delivered and set free…but what he soon discovered was that Sergio could see very clearly in the spiritual realm…his prophetic words were incredibly accurate, clear and concise, going so far as to name dates and places where events would happen…and when it came to deliverance issues all Eddie needed to do was call Sergio over and ask him what he saw…almost without fail, Sergio could see simple pictures, resentment trapped in a persons heart, a zipper sealed where there was unforgiveness, subtle but accurate pictures that always led to immediate and dramatic release and deliverance.

In the physical realm Sergio is almost completely blind…but his vision in the Spirit is uncanny and accurate…

Sergio now has his own home, a wife, a job but most of all a hope…

Sergio is the sound of Gods eyes…a gentle soul full of compassion, who was blind but now can see…but what he see’s must be converted to sound…much like the sound in our Fathers eyes.

So let me ask you this…what kind of gospel are we believing?

Here was one of Gods sons, a prophet by design and an amazing musical gift living in the gutter, suicidal, homeless and alcoholic, without hope, harassed by demons on a daily basis…and the sound of worship called him home…

Are we believing in a gospel that see’s Gods kids as refugees looking for home, or sinners opposing our agenda?

And if our gospel is one of bigness, what are we doing with it? How is the sound of Gods eyes getting into the ears of lost sons like Sergio?

I would never guilt anyone into sharing the good news…but when I met this precious brother, this kindred spirit, my heart was instantly knit with his and I wept that night when I discovered that this brother of mine had lived on the street unaware of his rights as a son…

Brothers

As a musician and an artist, and as someone who has gone through the prophetic wilderness I can testify of the deep deep depression that comes with this package…I can remember times of turning off the phone, pulling up the covers and locking the door for days unable to move or function because of the overwhelming dark depression that made every thought a mountain and every emotion a storm…but I could never imagine it without the Lord, or on the street or inside a bottle…the grace of heaven spared my life knowing I was much to fragile for that encounter…so when I saw in Sergio my own experience we both immediately wept and his broken English he said what my heart was shouting “Brother”…

How precious on the mountains are the feet of them…who bring the sound of Gods love and His affectionate gaze to sons and daughters wandering far from home.

How can I remain in my safe place when my brothers are not home?

My brothers in arms… in song and spirit…this is the sound in Gods eyes…

“For the love of Christ compels me…”written by another brother nearly 2000 years ago.

One final note…Sergio prophesied over me…things I was unprepared to hear…things there was no way he could have known, he read my mail and my future and delivered it with a smile…things deep in my heart that only God could access…and frankly I could not have asked for a better messenger…a brother worlds apart by culture and history, but of the same wild olive branch grafted in to the domestic vine in our Fathers house.

*Sozo is the name of the deliverance ministry probably most popular in Bethel circles, it is a ministry devoted to healing but wrapped up in dignity for the individual.

Abandoned By Empire

Bridge

I recently returned form a “missions-trip” (very weak definition by the way) and most of you who follow me know where I went…I am refraining from mentioning it by name out of respect and in order to maintain the open doors that were created in the process of going…

To suggest that my trip out of the country was “life changing” is to underestimate the impact it is having upon my world, my world-view and my direction in life.

Martin Scott had given me some advice that was incredibly prophetic, as he is known to be, about relationships, open doors, connections and a new door of life for me…all of which the trip accomplished in ways beyond my comprehension.

Because of the nature of the shift that happened “in” me a few blogs will not suffice, so I will transitionally try to communicate some of the life changes I am embarking on in the very immediate future.

This first blog will attempt to describe what I would call the spiritual climate of a nation…the connection to land and how that affects people and behaviors…if you were born in this island you will identify immediately with the things I am saying because they are obvious, but perhaps buried under culture and difference.

The picture above is one of many “bridges to nowhere” that are on the island…when the USSR pulled out of the island there were many such projects left completely unfinished…this became a metaphor that the Lord used to open my heart to the people left behind.

This island has endured the brunt of empires both near and far that have tried to dictate its destiny, and then in turn simply abandoned it to fend for itself…Spain at one time actually suppressed the people in what most social anthropologist refer to as the “genesis of the modern concentration camp”…they referred to them as “reconcentrados” described by international observers as “fortified cities” in this season of the late 1800’s nearly 200,000-400,000 civilians died of starvation and disease in these concentration camps, numbers verified by the Red Cross…

So as I landed in the main city, I was surprised to hear the Lord say to my heart “Honor those who have been stewards of the land”…Honor would become a dominant theme on the trip, and it would open my eyes to both my own country and other nations and the need for a biblical understanding and not simply a cultural head-nod as has been my experience. Honoring those who had been stewards of the land would seem counter-intuitive for someone like me who comes from a Democratic republic…how do you honor what in my world would be “oppression”?

But honor is a kingdom key and perhaps this is where the phrase “kenarchy” carries weight, you cannot change something you refuse to honor…

What I discovered was you can talk about a culture of honor all you want, and it is a fairly common theme now in our contemporary Western church, books and seminars having instructed us on the process, but honor cannot be achieved without “value” and value requires expending resources towards the object of value…you can claim a culture of honor all you want, but if you do not invest actual resources yourself into the people you value, you are just making noise.

I discovered Apostles who would do without in order to empower and equip their people, a man who saved his own salary for nearly a year in order to buy a house for another pastor from a different stream who had been kicked out of his traditional church and had no house…giving with no strings attached…all because of value…which in turn created honor, which resulted in what we like to call revival and Holy Ghost celebrations.

In spite of being abandoned by empire there is a core group of people who are radically changing the face of a nation by remaining faceless themselves…working extra in order to give to others so they can have their own businesses and jobs.

The average income on the island is about $15.00 a month…now of course they don’t have housing cost since most houses are handed down or bought and sold in one fell swoop, but the rest of life the cost remains much the same as for us…how these people survive with such joy and effectiveness is a miracle in itself.

The people there will require an entire blog just to describe…they are truly the most beautiful people I have ever encountered, but what is unavoidable is the culture of son-ship that has been created by Leann Goff and Leif Hetland…churches planted in the majority of the provinces, connections and celebrations that demonstrate the Kingdom of God transforming a country on the brink of momentous change…the kingdom is working at a frantic pace to get underneath the culture and establish the seven mountains, they are serious about, have a spirit of excellence unlike any I have seen and start everything on time in the most joy filled manner you can encounter…truly ‘Sons and Daughters” of the King of Heaven.

I did not know what to expect, but as a rule you kind of make assumptions and hope to land somewhere close…the national climate is still one of limitation, control, and the residue of empire resonates in the infrastructure…but into that climate a family of sons and daughters is honoring and bringing change that even the government is noticing…leaders impacting entire neighborhoods and cities with love and peace…and bringing a kingdom value to a nation that has endured the orphan spirit for centuries…

I will go back.

I must go back.

My gifts and my history have uniquely painted me into a place where I can help in the most practical ways possible…it was a Divine moment where my history intersected with my future and a people captured my heart…

One final thought…as I look at my experiences of the last year, the wilderness journey and being “kicked out” of empire I have realized I was set up by my Father…He wanted my heart prepared to identify what an entire nation has been going through for centuries…and my discovery in the wilderness has been primarily my son-ship…it was if the Lord intentionally gave me a lifetime of isolation and trauma in a short and brutal season so that I could find my heart…a heart that is now deeply connected to my family in an island of promise…

I am excited to say the least…and this will require massive life changes, relocating and submission to open doors…but its my destiny…how can I say no?

A precise idea

Gears inside of a watch

I am back to raising some questions, so if you are comfortable this post may be something to wait on before you read it…

Here’s the disclaimers…

1. I am not a universalist…any gospel that does not require our response is no gospel at all…

2. I do not have the answers…I am not that smart so please do not think I am pushing forward something I think I know, I clearly do not know.

3. I like it in the real world, meaning I want answers that I can relate to…answers that leave me “between the worlds” have very little appeal to me.

Maybe that’s enough disclaimers…

Ok, the negatives

Question #1…knowing that God can see everything, and He has all power so He could have chosen something else…is He possibly happy with how things have turned out? And if He’s not happy, is heaven a depressing place? How do you multiply unhappiness by infinity?

Question #2…given that we are quite comfortable with placing evil outside ourselves…ie: the devil as being the causative agent for all unhappiness and discomfort…where did the devils evil come from? He was supposedly created “perfect”, yet Jesus will say he was a murderer from the beginning…the point of this question is not trying to locate evil in God…it is looking at our dishonest approach in placing evil outside of us…Jesus will say “If you being evil know how to give to your kids…” He will also call Peter “Satan” and one of the disciples a “devil”…I have never ever, (and you probably have never) called a person satan…yet Jesus will not simply locate evil in Peter, he will essentially say Peter is functioning as evil…

Question #3: Have we as the Western church simply carried forward an “evolution” of human religious thinking by shifting sacrifices from animals and food to behavior and reinforced something Jesus came to dismantle?

Ok now the questions I consider positives:

Question #1: If God is infinity happy, what could possibly be the source of this joy?

Question #2: Is it possible that God has worked it ALL out with the same precision that He hung the planets and keeps our earth in a perfectly controlled ecosystem to sustain life?

Question #3: What was it Jesus “finished” on the cross?

Bothersome

I have been looking at human culture, the development of how we got where we are, it is interesting that the very first city was built from the lineage of murder…it comes from Cains and not Adams…

When I look at the religious nature of man, it is unavoidable that sacrifice is included in our core motivation, how in the world did we get this idea? I know most Western Christians will super-impose the idea that God killed an animal and clothed Adam and his wife after the fall, but the bible actually says he “made” tunics of skin for them, not that He killed an animal and skinned it for them…and when Cain brings his “tribute” God kind of does “Meh”, but when Abel sacrifices an animal the bible says God “regarded” and the word means to stand gazing in amazement…what if God was completely shocked of the idea that Abel would kill an innocent animal and think that it was something God was pleased with?

What if all sacrifice in religious activity was something God NEVER imagined it was purely the product of evil in us? How would God stop this “desire” from dominating the future of His creation (that He adores)?

As you trace the development of religious sacrifice it generally goes from human, to animal, to food…it is a reductionist movement the scriptures develop…until in the New testament the sacrifice we are to bring is “thanksgiving and praise”…as if that was actually a sacrifice…

I have been a fan of anthropology and society since watching James Burkes “Connections” series back in the 70’s…Marvin Harris was an anthropologist I got a lot of mileage out of, both use fairly unorthodox approaches, which I find reassuring…both of these men placed a particular burden on “ideas” as being the motivating force behind the development of humanities diversity…

I have an idea

Ideas are rather powerful things…they can lodge in our minds and actually become fixtures, science has even shown that scientist themselves struggle when facts confront standard ideas they have held to for a long time, so even the most academic and cerebral among us are subject to the power of ideas.

“Looking down on empty streets, all she can see
Are the dreams all made solid
Are the dreams all made real

All of the buildings, all of those cars
Were once just a dream
In somebody’s head” -Mercy Street/Peter Gabriel

Jesus brought some very radical ideas…he basically told the Jewish religious leaders: “You guys have spent a thousand years with your head stuck in the bible and yet not one of you has even seen the Father, you have not even a clue what God is really like”…

And the “idea” of religion was so bothered by the insinuation, it found a way to eliminate him, by making him a human sacrifice…but here’s where it got messy…the scapegoat came back…the victim who’s murder completely indicts all of humanity shows up and takes the stand in our defense…

What if the sacrifice of Jesus was only necessary for us, so we would stop the nonsense of making sacrifices?

What if God never needed it, but knew that unless he engaged the conversation it would continue?

Athanasius and the early church Fathers would say “Whatever God decides to save, he becomes”..in other words God is not distant and disconnected in ANY redemption process, he actually enters into the thing so His very Presence can transform it.

Perhaps that is the main reason Jesus would enter hell, so he could transform it…

Eph. 4:9 will tell us that the one who ascended FIRST descended and then ascended that he might FILL ALL THINGS…so maybe we should look deeply at what the lower parts of the earth means…if it means hell…well…he filled it up according to the verse.

But here’s the dog I’m trying to hunt with, I am beginning to suspect that we have elevated some ideas hard-wired into us from the fall, that empowers a religious way of thinking about God that He showed up to dismantle…ideas about sacrifice, service, temples and priests…Jesus apparently came to make us all of these things…and yet we still endeavor to “do” these things.

The Happy God

So what can God possibly be happy about in all of this…the sacrifices, the blood, the temples, the “us and them” of laity and clergy…

I recently posted this statement on facebook that caused some rather punitive responses…I said “The sacrifice of Jesus did not satisfy the blood lust of an angry God”…my point (that seemed to get lost in translation) was that God was not angry, he did not have a blood lust and this was not the point of the sacrifice at all…

What if God is perfectly pleased with what Jesus came and finished not because Jesus came and held his breath for 30 years and then got out of here, but instead because Jesus in coming completely dismantled the machines of human ideas that have been the cause of our pain? Ideas that still seem to move with power of their own…

What if unlike the movie/series Star Trek, God intentionally interfered with the prime directive and He knows the result that is inevitable? Our core culture is unavoidably irreparably altered?

What if God showed up to show us our future by reminding us that our origin was in Him and not in some chance romantic encounter of two frisky humans?

What happens when we discover we are innocent, and approved?

What happens to society when it discovers that there are now no more sacrifices, that they were for us all along and God was rather amused we even thought about it?

(Hebrews 10:18…our sins have been “remitted” therefore there is no need for a sacrifice)

What happens to the machine of religion when there is no more penance, no more sacrifice of mis-placed guilt, no more separation of the holy ones and the regular guys?

More questions of course…but I am beginning to believe that the same God who engineered the spinning of the planets so that they remain perfect in less than 1%, and the Master Engineer who created a planet that perfectly maintains conditions for life to thrive, with just the right amount of nitrogen, salt, sunlight and gravity…that Engineer has engineered a redemption that is just as faultless and precise…how could it not be?

And that would probably explain how He can be both in my pain and happy at the same time, because He knows the outcome of His engineering ability…I as well you have been changed…

This is the beginning of the mystery of Christ in us…Romans will say that, that which may be known of God is manifest WITHIN THEM…so the starting place to discover God is not in nature, it is not in philosophy or culture…that which can be known about Him is inside us…

What a brilliant and precise idea…built into us is the key to understand that which we were born to know.