Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Part #2: Good Friday?

How could the murder of the Son of God by legal authorities and religious leaders be “good”?!

In the evil act itself, certainly not.

But rather the “good” comes from the Christian vision that God is love, and that in his loving providence God can bring good out of even the worst evil acts of humans. And what could be worse than the political execution of the Son of God by one of the supposedly greatest civilizations of humankind and by the leaders of a religious group chosen by God to serve him in order to bless all humans?

In Jesus’ execution, the worst became the best because God used the vile act to show us how even in our worst behavior and most hateful attitude, God still loves us. No matter what. God loves everyone of us, no exceptions. Yes God loves the Taliban, the serial murderer, the self-righteous prig, the rapist, the racist, the child molester, the liar, the self-centered right and left wing politicians, ALL of us, despite our evil actions.

So seemingly impossible for us. But God’s love is infinite, everlasting, never ending… as 1 Corinthians 13 shows, Love is the greatest and deepest and widest characteristic of God.

Jesus, hard as it is to fathom, even forgave the very Roman soldiers who tortured him, and who were now crucifying him and gambling for his clothes.

The terrible evil of humans, God turned to the redemption of all humankind!

It is a vile lie of many religious leaders of the present who claim God only willed a “limited atonement,” that God only loves to save some of us, has foreordained most of us not to be saved, and even worse that God has a secret will wherein God wills every evil act for his own glory.

How morally sick. What an hellish theology:-( Contrast that with John 3:16 “God so loved the world (Greek ‘Cosmos’) and I John 2:2 “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.)

On the contrary, God took this rejection and murder of Jesus, his dear Son, and through his eternal love turned this atrocity into the deliverance of every single human who has ever lived and who will ever live!

Billy Graham preached so movingly in his famous sermon, when he emphasized that Jesus would have suffered and died even if only one human had sinned! That is how great the love of God for everyone, every single one of us. Praise God. Maybe sing “The Love of God” now.

If you have trouble getting your mind around this Christian vision—of how God can turn a legal murder into love for the very Roman soldiers who carried it out and extend that redemption to everyone—consider this very human example from the days of the Civil Rights Movement.

At the 16th Street Baptist Church in September 15, 1963 “…twenty-six children were walking into the basement assembly room to prepare for the sermon entitled “The Love That Forgives,” when the bomb exploded. Four girls, Addie Mae Collins (age 14), Denise McNair (age 11), Carole Robertson (age 14), and Cynthia Wesley (age 14), were killed in the attack, and 22 additional people were injured..."

"The explosion blew a hole in the church's rear wall, destroyed the back steps and all but one stained-glass window, which showed Christ leading a group of little children.”

Martin Luther King Jr. preached their memorial service and said, “These children unoffending, innocent, and beautiful were the victims of one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity…my friends, they did not die in vain. (Yeah) God still has a way of wringing good out of evil. (Oh yes) And history has proven over and over again that unmerited suffering is redemptive."

"The innocent blood of these little girls may well serve as a redemptive force (Yeah) that will bring new light to this dark city. (Yeah. Mmm) The holy Scripture says, 'A little child shall lead them.'"

Was that “Good Sunday”?

In the sense of evil, NO WAY!

Yet from God’s loving redemptive perspective of opposing and defeating that horrific evil, yes.

King explains in his sermon how God can bring good out of even the murder of four young teens, how God seeks to redeem even the worst white racists despite, and yet through their horrendous murders.

And many racists in the United States were redeemed from their sin and self-righteousness, when they repented and turned to God in Christ.

So, yes, strangely that evil church bombing, that tragic Sunday was turned to “good.”

Now write that large for the Son of God’s murder, and how that evil act has been turned by the love of God for every one of us into Good News.

Amen—Let it be so.

To be continued--But what about the Nazi Holocaust?

Daniel Wilcox

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Good Friday?

Isn’t that like saying Good Assassination?

Good Murder?

Good Holocaust?!

Yes. This is so as the Jewish writer and Holocaust-survivor Elie Wiesel so powerfully and cogently demonstrates in one excruciating story in his memoir of the Holocaust—Night.*

How can there be good-evil?

Yes what an oxymoron.

What a contradiction and ethical absurdity where human grieving never ceases.

At first, all of this may seem like past history. Most people know about the Shoah (Holocaust). And many probably have heard of "Good Friday" since it still occurs on calendars. But nowadays most people put little focus on history unless forced to do so, and most work or study or spring-break party right through “Good Friday,” unless they are devoutly liturgical in their religion.

Years ago back in the 1950’s in the Midwest, all religious people commemorated the special Friday, and many attended very long services. I remember as kid sitting through 3-4 hour services where 4-5 ministers took turns preaching on and on. But that was then, this is now.

Looking back on that yearly event now seems very strange: how those religious leaders taught us about the torture and execution of a Jewish leader by the Romans 2000 years ago and why it was vitally important to us, even elementary children.

Even more baffling—at least to everyone not convinced of the Christian faith—is why speak to the general populace in the present of such a capital punishment by ancient governing authorities so long ago? And why claim this execution has anything, indeed everything, to do with humans today?

Last and most incomprehensible of all, why claim that this execution is “good”?!

How can moral evil, especially when conducted by civilization’s leaders ever be considered “good”?

How as human beings can we ever deal with moral atrocities—so many horrendous massacres throughout blood-gushed/disgusting history?

This is the beginning of the philosophical and ethical question that Elie Wiesel asked in his book Night, speaking of the murder of so many by the Nazi death camps including his father, mother, and sister:

“Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.”

Then Wiesel tells the story of a young boy executed by the Nazis:
"The three victims mounted together onto the chairs. The three necks were placed at the same moment within the nooses. ‘Long live Liberty!’ cried the adults. But the child was silent.

"'Where is God? Where is He?’ someone behind me asked. At a sign from the head of the camp, the three chairs tipped over. Total silence throughout the camp. On the horizon, the sun was setting.

"'Bare your heads!' yelled the head of the camp. His voice was raucous. We were weeping. ‘Cover your heads!’ Then the march past began. The two adults were no longer alive. Their tongues hung swollen, blue tinged. But the third rope was still moving; being so light, the child was still alive..."

"For more than half an hour he stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. He was still alive when I passed in front of him. His tongue was still red, his eyes not yet glazed."

"Behind me, I heard the same man asking: ‘Where is God now?’ And I heard a voice within me answer him: ‘Where is He? Here He is — He is hanging here on this gallows'"

"Where is God? Where is He?"

And I heard a voice within me answer him: "Where is He? Here He is — He is hanging here on this gallows..."

To be continued

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Historical Judgments: Part 3

#2 When encouraged to do your duty, to honor and support a war by the government...when elected officials beat the fervent drum of necessity...when the general populace becomes excited by war fever/fervor or are scared into genuine fear by the powers that be,
then STOP!

Step away from the emotional political juggernaut. Take time to be holy, passionate,and prayerful, seeking God's guidance in the witness of Jesus the Messiah, the Chosen One, the leader who said to love your enemies(in his case, the Roman soldiers who tortured and crucified him)!

Glance backward to the First Gulf War, August 2, 1990. There was no question that the leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator. Even many Arabs thought so, only the most biased not.

However, the fever pitch for war, the excitement slew a whole nation, ours--the United States. Very few Americans stood up against this irrational nationalism.

Picture this large gym at Perris High School filled with staff and students and classified help--everyone was there. Our school's cheer leaders sang and shouted and pranced, "We're NUMBER #1! We're NUMBER #1!" But this wasn't a huge rally for our football team to win in a game against our cross county rivals.

No! This wasn't a sports pep rally, but rather a political, nationalistic drumming for war! At the time I was teaching high school literature and writing. I admit I, too, felt judgment against Iraq, I, too, experienced the fever of war excitement, but was totally shocked when young, fairly innocent, high school cheerleaders and a couple of thousand individuals gloried in war, while our hundreds of bombs 'reigned down' on many, many Iraqis.

I suppose theoretically I could have understood the United States taking out Saddam Hussein--a murderer if there ever was one (though Jesus died for him too). Those who take the sword shall die by the sword. That's in Bible--when humans choose violence--to violate others, they will eventually reap what they have sown.

But for American adults, teachers no less, to encourage so many teens to turn a war into a game and a rally, how tragic, how absurd. Where was the ol' soldier Vonnegut when we needed him?

Right then, while all around me hundreds of Americans were filled with zest and loud happy singing, thousands of human beings in Iraq were being turned into charred things, what American soldiers called "crispies." How morally sick.

And no doubt thousands of high schools across our nation were having similar patriotic rallies.
Yet God loves every Iraqi as much as God does Americans. In fact, think of the great slogan--"God bless the whole world, no exceptions!" Many Iraqis were no more evil than many Americans.

Yet our high school, our city, was turning their annihilation via "shock and awe" weapons into a sport! What a travesty of Life and Truth.

How hellish. That day when it comes back to mind still gives me spiritual guilt and shame. At the time, I got a deep inner nudge to go out onto the gym floor and speak truth from the God of all compassion to all these misguided humans.

But I kept resisting the motion of the Spirit of God. I was chicken, and besides, what might happen to my teaching position/contract if I stood up and opposed this rally, even if I spoke in a gentle tone?

Finally, several days later, one of our teaching staff called a meeting for adults to speak up about the war, but only 3 or 4 teachers showed up. Even "liberal" teachers supported the war (another repeat of so many hundreds of wars in the past: no nation that goes to war ever thinks it is in the wrong).

Hope to God that next time Americans are faced with this, they will stop, step back, and think again, and pray.

Nope. Didn't happen. But instead the next time, the United States was the first-strike aggressor...

Hopefully, some day we will learn to make wise historical decisions when the drums of war are thundered and nations let lose the vicious dogs of war in the name of God, truth, and justice.

That's an historical judgment.

Let's turn from the gods of war to the Prince of Peace.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Friday, March 15, 2013

Historical Judgments: Part 2

“What does the Syrian war look like?"

From “What the Syrian War Looks Like” by Rania Abouzeid, The New Yorker

“…A man, bloodied and beaten, hands tied behind his back, is dragged along the gritty asphalt by uniformed, armed government soldiers. He’s wearing nothing but his white underwear. He cannot even lift his head, which scrapes along the street. He turns onto his back. “Where are your wife and children?” one of his tormentors asks, stepping on the man’s face with his black boot. Somebody asks for a piece of glass to cut the man’s tongue out. They curse him, mock him, and laugh as they torment him.

“For God’s sake, please, just let me say goodbye to my children,” the man says, knowing that his end is near. His face is swollen, bloodied. “Will you let me *** your wife?” one of his tormentors asks, mockingly. “If you let me, you can see your children.” “No,” the man says, “my wife is my soul, my children are my soul. My wife is the crown on my head.”

“The crown on your head?” He kicks the man’s head. Others laugh as they continue dragging him along the street, trying to decide where to dump him

…who was once their neighbor—is no longer a person.

…Some men may become what they are fighting.

What is the Syrian war like?" Rania Abouseid

Like nearly every other war in history, especially the American War Between the States.

So here we go with an historical judgment—on the American War Between the States--which will then hopefully lead to the Holy Spirit’s guidance on how we ought to act as followers of Jesus today.

Like the current Syrian War both sides in the American War were of the same monotheistic religion, both sides called on God to judge and defeat their enemies, both sides slaughtered their neighbors, and both sides behaved totally contrary to the central tenets of their faith. Most of the soldiers were considerate people doing their duty for honor and country and God—so they killed and killed and killed.

All’s fair in love and war especially when your side is right (sarcasm).

In the American War not only was the nation divided, friends fought for opposite sides, even loving families were rent asunder, one brother going off to fight for the Union, another one for the Confederacy. Stonewall Jackson who dearly loved his sister discovered how faint family and kinship are when righteous religious wrath consumes and poisons everything and nearly everyone; his loving sister Laura refused to ever see him again for as long as he lived because he joined the Confederacy rather than fight for the Union. She emphasized she “would rather know that he was dead.”

But the tragic story gets even worse—while Laura was outspokenly pro-Union, her husband Jonathan Arnold was a Confederate sympathizer so their marriage ended in a scandalous divorce. Many families were so torn apart by their contrary interpretations of the Christian faith.

When devout Christians disparage each other, then take up weapons against each other and slaughter in each other in the name of God and Jesus, this is more than a misjudgment, more than horrifically wrong, it’s flagrant evil. Consider that millions of Americans did just that—in the name of Jesus slaughtered almost a million human beings in only 4 years of war (over 600,000 soldiers died, hundreds of thousands of civilians died, and who knows how many were injured for life), and how many millions of infants-to-be were never conceived, never born! A whole generation gone with the wind…

But this wasn't the Wind/Spirit of God like in the book of Genesis creating good, no not at all, no matter how much Christians claimed otherwise. This was an evil wind…

But why?!

Where were the needed sermons on I John 7-21? ESV “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love…11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us…20If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

Instead, brothers in Christian faith murdered each other for God, burned towns, stole the enemies’ supplies and personal stuff, lied, cursed, etc.—violated nearly all of the Ten Commandments in the name of doing God’s will.

However, no doubt, readers will ask, but wasn't the war necessary to end slavery in the South--a horrific evil that needed to be ended?

NO, the war wasn't needed, but yes, slavery needed to be ended--just like the even worse evil of abortion needs to be ended now, with over 50 million murdered pre-born babies in 40 years! But thank God very few Christians are suggesting we slaughter a ½ million pro-choice people in order to end abortion. Two evils never make a right.

Also, tragically, the Union and President Lincoln who called for the end of slavery in the Confederacy yet contrarily continued to allow slavery in the Union during the war! What hypocrisy!

When one Union officer freed slaves, President Lincoln had the Negroes re-enslaved and fired the officer. Lincoln did such actions so as not to offend pro-slavery racist Northerners. In fact he said of one Union slave state, “I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.”

Yet even most of the President’s in-laws sided with the Confederacy. His wife’s brother was a Confederate surgeon. Such tragedy, so many divided families—this didn't have to be. If only Americans on both sides had followed the ethical guidance of Jesus. If only they hadn't been so self-righteous and murderous.

No other nation on earth which had slavery slaughtered each other in order to free their slaves. In fact most nations ended slavery with no violence. Why was America the exception?

Furthermore, President Lincoln repeatedly stated the war wasn't about freeing slaves. Northern slaves weren't freed in the Union before or during the war! No, the war was mainly fought instead to stop the Southern States from leaving the Union. Many Union soldiers weren't against slavery, but killed to deny others the freedom and right to choose the government of their choice!

The main leader of the Union forces, General George McClellan thought slavery was supported in the Constitution. Even after the war he showed his racism toward Negroes when he wrote, "I confess to a prejudice in favor of my own race, & can’t learn to like the odor of Billy goats or niggers.”

Maybe even more tragic than all that, and the sinful violation of 1 John and the death of hundreds of thousands of humans, is the terrible fact that the War in the end didn't really free the Negroes…

Yes, slaves were freed on paper, and emancipation was enshrined in the Constitution. But within 10 years of Appomattox, by 1875, the situation of the Negro in the South (and strangely in many places in the North too!) was worse than before the war.

Racist Southerners, ‘the Redeemers’, (how’s that for religious irony), got back into power by violence, intimidation, and murder. Then they instituted the Negro Codes, kept former slaves from equality under the law, kept them from voting and from office, kept most of them in poverty and nearly in a slaved dependency. The vast majority of Negroes didn't have new opportunities and yet they were without the security and shelter many of them had under the evil of slavery. So they got the worst of both worlds. The era of Reconstruction really was more on the order of Re-destruction.

And this continued—the violence, the intimidation, and the murder for many, many years, nearly 100 years—until the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950-60’s.

Another shocking fact is that most other nations ended slavery with no violence, certainly no religious slaughter like in America.

Historical Judgment: Who was most responsible for the evil? About 70-80% of the blame goes to the North and the Lincoln Administration for instigating the war, violating the central tenet of the Declaration of Independence, and continuing the war even when anyone could see that it was killing so many, that it violated the Ten Commandments, the words of Jesus, and many other parts of the New Testament such as I John.

The South and the Jefferson Davis Administration also was to blame, though not as clearly because they did have the very words of Scripture to back them up. Not only did the Bible order slaves to be obedient to their masters, it also said that even abusive masters were in their “right” because according to the Old Testament law, if a master beats his slave so that he dies after 3 days, there is no punishment because the slave is his “property”!

We, of course, know better. One can also prove from the Bible that we ought to slaughter babies by bashing their heads against rocks. One must be very careful when quoting Scripture.

Also, the Southerners had the Founding Fathers on their side. Of the first 5 Presidents of the United States, 4 of then owned slaves. A total of 12 Presidents owned slaves!

So while we know, from eternal truth, that slavery is inherently evil, many Southerners were honestly deceived by their trust in the words of Scripture and in the Founding Fathers.

But that is still no excuse.

Besides, many Christian Southerners hid their own pride and selfish attitudes under the cover of their faith like the Pharisees of old. Also, it’s not like they were innocent lambs; they had been instigators only 15 years before in stealing and killing when they invaded Mexico, partially to extend slavery. So much for following Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount or 1 Corinthians 13.

(Now this short article has given only the briefest sketch of this tragic evil of the American War and its aftermath Reconstruction. There are so many tomes which detail the horror in great depth. If anyone would like a bibliography on the American War, send me a brief email and I will send it to you or post the list later.)

Assuming that the American War was such a great evil, a woeful wrong ethical choice by millions of Christians, what is the moral of the story for us now? How do we learn from the past so as not to repeat this immoral action again?

#1 Learn from the New Testament and from religious history that violence, especially the organized slaughter of war, is contrary to the Good News.

“Peter was commanded to sheathe his sword. All Christians are commanded to love their enemies… Tell me, how can a Christian defend Scripturally retaliation, rebellion, war, striking, slaying, torturing, stealing, robbing and plundering and burning cities and conquering countries?”
–Menno Simons 1554

To be continued

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Historical Judgments

What is the point of history, the purpose of studying the past? Aren’t we taking away from our here and now, having to learn what happened back when to who knows who, usually nobody we’re even vaguely related to?

When I taught history as part of helping students understand world and American literature, that question came up regularly. Indeed, how many, many people have pointed out—“history’s boring” or as Henry Ford said, “History is more or less bunk*. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that is worth a tinker’s damn* is the history that we make today.” Chicago Tribune 1916

As a historian of sorts, I will grant that often the presentation of history is boring, and tragically/comically (how’s that for a contradiction?) history so often is “nonsense.”

But, of course, in the latter case—history being nonsense—is the very reason it so behooves us to study history with intense focus, so that we may learn its lessons in order not to repeat past actions now and in the near future. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it…and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual.” George Santayana

We need to know the past, because as a human being, the historical past is OUR past whether we recognize it or not, and whether we like it or not. We are defined, often controlled and shaped, by our species’ countless past actions. Think how much of your life now is based in and affected by your own past actions and the actions of your parents. To not know that is to have a form of amnesia—to literally not know who you are or why you act as you do while others act so contrarily to how you act.

“If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree…Just think about it, the past has always been more important than the present. The present is like a coral island that sticks above the water, but is built upon millions of dead corals under the surface, that no one sees. In the same way, our everyday world is built upon millions and millions of events and decisions that occurred in the past.”― Michael Crichton

So what is this huge many millions of years old Tree of Life? Hundreds of thousands of years old Tree of Human History? And based on all the past, how does one make good ethical decisions now? Evangelical Christians often assert, “History is God’s story, HIS-story,” but this is a very problematic tragic, even horrific, idea. For most of recorded history is obscenely contrary to all that is good, true, and right, certainly not God’s story unless the latter is a moral monster.

That is my first historical judgment. And judgments are dangerous to make, but each of us must make them daily, hourly, minute by minute, moment by moment—for that is how we humans live, how we become.
So let’s take a look at a few historical past actions (the ghost of history past;-) and seek to discover what ethical lessons we can learn from back there and then.

The American Civil War
(More accurately The War Between the States, because essentially the war wasn't a fight over who would rule a country, but a refusal by the U.S. government to let States secede from the Union even though they had voted to do so.)

Lincoln claimed the Southern States didn't have a right to secede:

First Inaugural Address March 4, 1861- “I hold that, in contemplation of universal law, and of the Constitution, the union of these States is perpetual....It follows....that no State, upon its own mere motion, can lawfully get out of the Union; that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void; and that acts of violence, within any State or States, against the authority of the United States, are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances. I, therefore, consider that, in view of the Constitution and the laws, the Union is unbroken.”

“We find the proposition that, in legal contemplation, the Union is perpetual confirmed by the history of the Union itself. The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed, in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776…

But Thomas Jefferson in that very Declaration of Independence argued completely the opposite:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.”

Thus Jefferson seems to argue persuasively—many would even say, “case closed.” But strangely Abraham Lincoln and millions of Americans have disagreed with the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson’s reasoning, instead claiming that the Union of the United States is “perpetual” and cannot be separated.

And the moral of the historical story for us now is?

To be continued

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Part 3: Be Calm, Be Called, Be Come

So, (continuing on from the two previous posts),
how does all this abstract philosophical speculation grip the dangerous road here and now at this moment and in succeeding moments, even when the worst tests of life ravage our lives?

We can have hope that God becomes "for us"--ALL of us, even in the worst of worst.
God isn't an almighty sovereign who controls/ordains everything including evil. God doesn't view us as his things 'to do with as he pleases,' as many modern Christian leaders claim.

God isn't primarily found in doctrine or private devotions, not even mainly in corporate worship. God doesn't need our praise and adulation. The latter was always for us, never for himself. As 1 John says, God is love. When does love ever focus on itself?! When does love ever want to be the center of the party?

The true glory of God is that he has become, for everyone and everything, much less than he is--emptying himself because he "so loved the world." (John 3:16)

As the New Testament so repeatedly emphasizes, like Jesus did in one of his last actions for his followers, God becomes...
--a servant to us!
--through Jesus, suffers and dies for every human who has lived and who will ever live, and eventually all of creation!
--our future, eventually culminating in a universal communion between Creator and created.
--the creative, healing edge in each moment of our lives.
--the ultimate hope in every despair.

As a few visionary spiritual leaders have emphasized, God and all related true spirituality isn't primarily a memory of the past, not tradition, not creeds which were created by warring Christians who had forgotten Jesus' primary words of instruction--to love everyone, even their political and religious enemies.

God's will for us is to live out of our spiritual imagination, not past events or our present circumstances, whether they be good or bad.

God becomes in loving, peacemaking, healing, truth-sharing, communing, giving...


Step #1 Be Calm.

Yeah right...(both in the ironic sense and, yes, in the denotative sense)
yeah right in the midst of all your despair, testings, temptations, heartache, worry, tragedy, loss, good times, joy...

In the midst of all that can't seem to be overcome, or even the good that is keeping you focused narrowly within your kin and nation,
break out,
by becoming in this present moment now focused on God--the Truth.

When this meditation first came to me at the 'Church of the Swimming Pool,' I thought I would share one of the climatic results of once when I 'be calmed.' But now as I write this, it seems best to leave the past, even the wondrous past...
and focus,
on the future--

As Scripture says, Jesus stands outside every door and knocks. Will you answer,or are you too lost in your loss, your suffering, your failings, your despair? If you are too lost--so am I on some days when despair drowns hope--
answer anyway!

Like the rock group Third Day sings, "Cry out to Jesus..."

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Part 2: Be Calm, Be Called, Be Come

Before we were so rudely uninterrupted by everything happening in existence, two weeks ago we (meaning 'i' and everyone else involved in responding to the Spirit of God) were trying to articulate important theological/philosophical concepts and bring them down into practical daily living.

We were discussing the difference between classical theism which tends to emphasize God's immutability versus many of Scripture's stories and some of modern theology's alternate emphasis on God's continuing relational love with us and the rest of Creation (all that is in process).

In other words, how in the world ought we to change if we are followers of Jesus and Jesus' Father, God?

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” John 20: 17, ESV

And in Exodus 3:14, God is called by the "Be" verb though the exact literal translation into English has varied in construction:
Ehyeh asher ehyeh literally translates as "I Will Be What I Will Be."

become (v.)
Old English becuman "happen, come about," also "meet with, arrive," from Proto-Germanic *bikweman "become" (cf. Dutch bekomen, Old High German biqueman "obtain," German bekommen, Gothic biquiman). A compound of be- and come; it drove out Old English weorðan. Meaning "to look well" is early 14c., from earlier sense of "to agree with, be fitting" (early 13c.).
Online Etymology Dictionary