Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Regulation and Foul Play

There are certain things that this government does which truly annoy the crap out of me. Certain things such as... Banning cloves because they're supposedly trainer cigarettes- Though studies show differently. Studies actually showing that cloves account for less than 1% of all underage smokers preference. Studies further showing that though menthols are far more addictive, they remain legal.

Such as... Anti-bacterial soap potentially being banned by the FDA and EPA. Such as... A fool's group attempting to outlaw Happy Meals throughout the nation. Such as... A group trying to get trans fat banned.

If you want to know more about what's got me so riled up, check out the PDF booklet written by Ronin Lawbringer. All the links are below, and I do have permission from the author to make this available freely.

It all boils down to this: Freedom in this country is not freedom. Instead, it has become a simpering attempt at complacency while the overlords bilk us of everything.

Time to take a stand.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

HELL: Eternal Justice, Eternal Love - part 2

Earlier, I spoke of the next destination in our lives- Not this finite one you and I live on planet Earth, but the one we live within it. Like a box within a box, our eternal spirit is merely housed within a finite physical shell. We are created as dependent eternal beings; able to live beyond physical death, but dependent upon our Creator for that life.

This is overlooked in modern Christianity, and has been for some time. In fact, there have been those "hellfire and brimstone" preachers which have pushed forward the idea of our earning our right to enter Heaven here on Earth. These say that if one dies in sin, one falls through into Hell. Strangely enough, no sin is present in this world save that which grieves the Holy Spirit- That is if I'm reading my Bible right. Don't get me wrong here. I am not saying that humans are perfect, nor am I committing heresy.

What I am saying is that MY Bible states Christ died for the sins of ALL. That means every one of them, not just the ones we repented of this morning. In fact, the only sin which is not forgivable- Is not accepting that very forgiveness. It's the ticket to board the cruise ship; if you have it, you go- If not, you don't.

Nevertheless, these wonderful preachers made their money convincing people that they were hot because Hell was right beneath them... And not because they were packed into a tent tighter than sardines. It was this ministry of condemnation that gave rise to such mindsets as that of the noted agnostic, Robert Ingersoll. It was he who stated thusly:

They say that when god was in Jerusalem he forgave his murderers, but now he will not forgive an honest man for differing with him on the subject of the Trinity. They say that God says to me, "Forgive your enemies." I say, "I do;" but he says, "I will damn mine." God should be consistent. If he wants me to forgive my enemies he should forgive his. I am asked to forgive enemies who can hurt me. God is only asked to forgive enemies who cannot hurt him. He certainly ought to be as generous as he asks us to be.

Individuals who say these things seem not to be understanding a very crucial fact: We humans are eternal, within a finite vessel. In the beginning, after the Fall of Man, yet before the Sacrifice, all of humanity understood this. Indeed, Cain mourned that his punishment for killing Able was too great to bear. "Everyone who comes across me shall slay me," he states, giving reference to his own eternity within the finite.

Today, however, this seems to be the sum of existence for many, and how sad is that?! Regardless of the tragedy encompassed by such a life stance, it progresses and grows. Many are taken in by this foolish thinking, and the various forms of "logic" which spring up around it. Such as the idea that mankind is doomed for its rejection of God's love, when in reality, man is doomed for its fallen nature.

Much like a car with a shorting central computer, our lives spit and sputter and refuse to run well. Continuing on with this sort of problem could lead to far more serious disaster: A sudden seizing of the brakes and the remainder of life as a paraplegic, for this example. We could continue on, not knowing this fate is awaiting; or we could bring it in to the mechanic, who has already paid for the replacement so as not to burden us with the price.

This truth is NOT what Bell operates under in his most recent book. Instead, he presents his version of "truth," one that leaves out the troublesome issues of Hell and eternal justice. He asks, in essence, what kind of loving God would damn a human soul to eternal punishment? The answer, he states, is that God would not. Thus he commits to the ages an atrocious error, one which Satan himself has fabricated: The assumption one knows the Creator based upon a sole aspect.

If God is Love, than how could He damn a soul? If God were solely and completely the sort of fuzzy love we associate with teddy bears and Santa Claus, than He could not. Fortunately, God is so much more. In fact, we often start at the wrong end when teaching on the love and/or wrath of God. However, before we get to that point, we first must define terms according to the Bible, not according to today's understanding.

First, we must understand that Love is not merely a fuzzy feeling. The opposite of love is not hatred, and love has the ability to be seemingly cruel. The opposite of love is apathy, for even hatred errupts based upon love. The seeming cruelty of love takes place when it must allow for discipline and punishment. A parent hates punishing a child, but it must be done at times. Why? Because love desires the very best. Allowing an action heedless of future wellbeing would not be love- It would be gross indulgence. Thus, love will seem very cruel when the object of love does not act in its own best interest.

Then we must look to wrath. Wrath is not the form of anger we see today. If anything, it too comes from a point of love. Wrath is the natural response when the object of love acts contrary to its best interest. It is anger, disappointment and sorrow together as one. Anger that one could be so thoughtless as to disregard one's wellbeing so entirely. Disappointment that one could do so more than can be credited to mistake. Sorrow that one must be opened to punishment as a result of wrongdoing.

Where we tend to get things backwards is our teaching of the reasons for the Wrath. Most say that it is man's rejection of Christ's Love that brings the wrath. In fact, this is wrong. It is man's fallen state which brings the wrath. Sinful man does not reject the love of Christ- he rejects the sacrifice, thus taking the full weight of his own sin back upon himself.

God is not only Love. He is also just. Justice can abide nothing but complete and absolute conformity to upright living; that is, living according to the desires of love. Anything other must be punished. It is perfect love which leads to perfect justice. Love desires the very best; wrath is the result of infraction upon obtaining the best; justice responds to the infraction.

Our sin affects our entire being, a blemish upon an undying spirit. Yet we seem to believe it a temporary thing. Because of this false belief, many see the idea of Hell as being entirely too much. In reality, however, it is a just punishment based upon the lasting decision of an eternal being to reject a permanent covering. In effect, man is already charged with his crime, and the punishment is death. When man rejects the sacrifice, he rejects his own plea bargin- The one thing which could get him out of that death.

And yet, with all of this, people seem to believe an eternally lasting crime not worthy of an eternal punishment. The crime not forgiven, the only one, is the one for which forgiveness is not sought. Those eventually sent to Hell are sent, not because of God's desire to punish, but because they have condemned themselves.

Monday, May 16, 2011

HELL: Eternal Justice, Eternal Love - part 1

The Roman poet Virgil stated that "we each bear our own Hell."

William Shakespeare once famously penned "Hell is empty, and all the devils are here."

Oscar Wilde observed that "we are each our own devils, and we make this world our Hell."

Each of these statements seem to be a point that Rob Bell's latest book could originate from. In actuality, they reveal something rather true about this world; namely, that it can be a living hell, and that such a hell is based solely upon our own choices. Our decisions and the subsequent consequences can be disastrous, affecting not only our lives, but those of the people around us. It can truly be a hell of such dark and terrible conditions that we may be happy to see the Hell of the afterlife pale in comparison. Such a notion would truly bring happiness to many and satisfy most who are itching to hear something they like.

Now where have I heard that phrase about itching ears before?

Oh, yes. Second Timothy 4:3-4 --

3The time is coming when people won't listen to good teaching. Instead, they will look for teachers who will please them by telling them only what they are itching to hear. 4They will turn from the truth and eagerly listen to senseless stories.

That pretty much speaks to the latest happy-happy thoughts to come from the mind of Rob Bell. Now, within this book Rob suggests that Hell is a myth- Not outright, but in so many words. More literally, he makes the same historically rooted arguments every other anti-judgment person has ever made: That Gehenna was the local city dump always on fire, etc. He then jumps from these points to say that Christ never once spoke of eternal damnation.

Is he reading the same Bible I am, or did he mistake his Emergent Church Translation for a copy of Finding Peace Within? Before anyone gets upset with me about this, bear in mind that the Seventh Day Adventist church is founded on the idea of annihilation and soul sleep, as opposed to an eternal damnation in the Lake of Fire. Bell does not suggest this, but he's on board at least as far as Cecil Perry, President of the SDA church in England, has remarked. Perry made the statement in 2000 that:

“The message of hell is in stark contrast to the message of hope and love and tends to engender fear”
(“British Seventh-day Adventists Warn Against ‘Stoking’ Hell Fires,” Religious News Service, April 2000).

That's right- Apparently, fear is no longer allowed within the Christian faith. Now, I'm not going to outrightly claim the SDA church is not Christian. I am not doing this right now because at this point, I do not want to be sidetracked.

The reason I find it interesting that there is this sudden desire among the various Christian branches to erase Hell from the picture. It is almost as if everyone would rather the idea of an eternal judgment is TOO wrong, or TOO harsh. In fact, the idea of an eternally lasting judgment issued by an eternally just God makes eternal sense.

There is a strange correlation between this thought and some other observations. The first observation was made by Ms. Madalyn Murray O'Hare, when she famously stated: "The fear of hell is the basis for the Christian faith." In fact, that is not the basis of the Christian faith- Though such stark contrast in viewpoints has not been helped in current times by the likes of Fred Phelps.

In fact, it is the fear of God that is the basis of Christianity, and not fear as defined by 1, 2, and 4 of Websters Dictionary. Let's be honest about this- Even our modern definition of fear does not begin to describe what is spoken of in the Bible. Admiration, reverence, and the sort of "fear" felt when entering the presence of a very powerful but highly respected leader is what's spoken of... Not terror.

However, it IS this terror sort of fear that is spoken of by Perry and O'Hare. It is also this sort of fear which has led countless people to reject the truth of the Bible; these people who would rather be happy in a finite and mortal existence than be infinitely secure. The sort of fear that encourages people to make a joke and mockery of its very existence. It was funny man Jim Carrey whose character stated: "Maybe there is no actual place called hell. Maybe hell is just having to listen to our grandparents breathe through their noses when they're eating sandwiches."

This same fear is what has led people such as O'Hare and Perry to reject its teaching, or object to it, one of the two. The idea that there could be justice in the world, and beyond it, apparently does not sit well with those who do not wish to live by any moral or ethical code but their own. These are the people who claim that Hell is already present here on Earth; that we need not have one which will last for eternity, because we have one which can last our entire pitiful existence. As some might say, one which can last the most important part of our life: The part for which we are alive, and not merely memory. In the words of Ed Babinski--

Given headaches, backaches, toothaches, strains, scrapes, breaks, cuts, rashes, burns, bruises, PMS, fatigue, hunger, odors, molds, colds, yeast, parasites, viruses, cancers, genetic defects, blindness, deafness, paralysis, mental illness, ugliness, ignorance, miscommunications, embarrassments, unrequited love, dashed hopes, boredom, hard labor, repetitious labor, accidents, old age, senility, fires, floods, earthquakes, typhoons, tornadoes, hurricanes and volcanoes, I can not see how anyone, after they are dead, deserves "eternal punishment" as well.

Here's a twist, however. What if this so-called "most important part" is not? What if the most important part, that which we should live for, is to come? Some may argue that we should not look ahead, that we should live in the moment and for today. What good is that, I answer, if today's rash decision impoverishes one tomorrow? Every part of life is dependent upon the preceding part: An infant dependent upon his birth; a teen his childhood; an adult his teen years; and an elder their entire life experience. What if the transition of life to death is much like the transition from womb to cradle? The womb is all the infant knows, yet there is another eighty plus years before it outside of that womb.

As such a possibility cannot be ruled out, and no evidence can be presented to conclusively prove otherwise, one can certainly entertain thoughts of the outside world- The world beyond this existence. However, there is a serious misconception regarding the destination of the dead. This misconception hinges on the idea that there are merely two places a departed spirit can go: The first being Heaven, the second being Hell. There is, in fact, a third; the hall of judgment. There is no purgatory, no place to work off one's sins, but there is a place where one discovers if one's sins are covered by the Blood of the Lamb... And their own acceptance of that gift. It is here that we, having shaken loose the bonds of time, gather after death. It is not our final destination, but it is our next.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Blessings to the Pioneers of Faith Hip-Hop

In April, several veterans of the Holy Hip-Hop genre gathered together for the first ever meeting of it's kind. With the opportunity to present my gratitude to so many who have had a positive influence on my life, you know I had to grab it.