Please Follow Me On ReLOVEution NOW!

I’m very pleased to know that this blog, my second one ever, still has followers after all these years. Postings have been sparse for the last while, but now I’m getting some steam up once again.

I’ve decided to concentrate my work on my newest blog, ReLOVEution NOW! Please check it out and follow me there.

My thinking and work has taken form and now aims at fomenting a cultural revolution, one that will create a new psychological and social context for working on the issues and problems we typically think of when we hear “revolution”. We can’t successfully address problems of political and economic and spiritual malaise when the cultural context for our efforts works against our efforts. I maintain that authoritarian cultures (and which major culture has not been authoritarian?) not only work against efforts to realize fair, prosperous societies and in turn a world we want to live in as opposed to being forced to survive in it, authoritarian cultures are designed to prevent any such realization. And the principal evidence for this is the deliberate and ardent efforts in every field of human study to eliminate the human factor from our thinking, theories and knowledge, in the name of “objectivity” or “spirituality” or “holiness”, instead of becoming intelligent and wise enough to incorporate it.

Thus, ReLOVEution. As long as phrases like honest politician or loving government or generous business or humble nationalism or peace-loving military or open, inclusive religion continue to be more oxymoronic than matter-of-fact, we need to revolutionize our culture. And, as far as I’m concerned, if our work does not contribute to that end, it’s worth very little. When the ship is this critically close to sinking, we need all hands on deck doing everything they can to keep her afloat. Retreating to a higher, drier spot to play intellectual tiddly winks wouldn’t just be stupid, but criminal and hypocritical. There are a lot of rich, hypocritical criminals walking free at this point.

I hope I’ll see you at ReLOVEution NOW!

Viva la ReLOVEution!

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Do Not Resist An Evil Person

Jesus asks for a slap on the other cheek

Jesus was just so fucking smart.

I like thinking about his teachings in unconventional ways — because conventional ones (like the one spoofed in the meme above) were concocted by religious authoritarians who didn’t (and still don’t) give two hoots about our welfare as long as they have secure access to flocks of sheeple and all the goodies they afford.

Jesus said, “Do not resist an evil person” — but not because he wanted to let them freely do evil. He wanted them to stop. “Do not resist” is not “do nothing”. There are lots of ways to overcome evil. Resistance is just a terribly and deceptively ineffective one.

Resistance is wastage. Opposing forces cancel each other out. Not only does resistance frustrate progress in either direction, it creates pressure, friction and heat which, past a certain point, ignite explosions. Pressure hardens *dead* things. Heat combusts. Life refuses to be contained and incinerated; and if it fails to break out, it dies.

So resistance is a way of death. If life is our goal, then we need to operate by its methods: Continue reading

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This Shit’s Easy

political speech By Medi Belortaja

political speech By Medi Belortaja

Bullshitters aren’t innocent. They bullshit for a reason.

If their purposes were honorable, they would be in possession of facts, of the truth of what’s really going on, and they wouldn’t need bullshit.

Resorting to bullshit proves dishonesty on a level even deeper than lying.

As Harry Frankfurt concludes in his wonderful little treatise On Bullshit, lying contradicts the truth — which means it pays attention to the truth — but bullshit is worse, because it is nothing else but disregard for all truth. The liar knows what happened and says otherwise. The bullshitter doesn’t give a fuck what happened and says whatever the hell he wants to. Frankfurt considers this a far worse problem, and he only sees it proliferating. (Full text online at http://www.stoa.org.uk/topics/bullshit/pdf/on-bullshit.pdf)

But there’s good news: There’s an easy way to expose and foil bullshit in a single move.

Bullshitters set up tar babies. Continue reading

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Real Holiness

All black

I’m returning to the notion of holiness which, like so many other ideas I’ve thought through, has a genuine, healthy interpretation that our culture has bastardized and perverted. Holiness has nothing to do with the things that people typically associate with the term, things that would more accurately be labeled holier-than-thouness.

One clue to the difference is that holiness has nothing to do with comparative worth, while holier-than-thouness is all and only about our superiority or inferiority compared to other people, or even compared to God. Measuring personal worth in comparison to others isn’t just foreign to love, it’s antagonistic to love, because love involves the appreciation of a being for what it is before appreciation of what it does — let alone what it can do for me, which is what drives a lot of what people falsely call “love”. When we truly love someone/something, it’s because we appreciate, honor, admire, treasure him/her/it for their own sake, not for our sake.

My understanding of holiness at this point is Continue reading

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God Is Black — He Told Me So

All black

God is black.

If you read translated source material that theological beliefs are built on, or read theologically foundational, authoritative writings like those of early Christianity’s so-called “Church Fathers”, or Augustine, Aquinas, Pseudo-Dionysius, etc., you’ll see that “God is black” is no more incredible or baseless than so very many of the statements made about God over the centuries: cryptic, ambiguous, unsubstantiated, and intentionally so.

(Although I picked on Christian writers here, since I’m more familiar with them, I haven’t seen a significant difference in this respect in the Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, or Taoist writings I’ve read, either.)

Assertion is not actuality. Cryptic, ambiguous, and unsubstantiated claims made in authoritative tones implicitly (almost automatically and imperceptibly) create occult spaces in which people can perform all kinds of quite persuasive conceptual alchemy that serves as the basis for further occult claims. Continue reading

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The Lord

I’m in the process of chipping away the myths encrusting the concept of authority so as to reveal its incoherent core — meaning its essential irrationality. This is just a small chip along the way.

Try substituting “the Lord” with “the Authoritarian” in Bible texts. Suddenly, the Bible will make a lot more sense to you, and you might not like it.

Here’s an example:

Then the Authoritarian saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Authoritarian was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The Authoritarian said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Authoritarian.

  — Genesis 6:5-8

 
An incredible amount of work and propaganda, for thousands of years, has gone into creating positive associations with “Lord” in the minds of believers of Abrahamic religions. In fact, there is little difference between a lord and Continue reading

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Fools

I know. I really do.

I know. I really do.


A couple of Bible verses from long past Christian days keep recurring to me, because I see them played out regularly. It’s really quite revealing.

A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind.
— Proverbs 18:2
 
Though you pound a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, Yet his foolishness will not depart from him.
— Proverbs 27:22

 
Why would someone be obsessed with revealing his own mind? It’s even more curious when you consider the fools you’ve dealt with: They don’t even seem to know their own minds, but instead blather on about what they believe must be the case given what they managed to learn from other people’s minds. Don’t be fooled by the copiousness of the information they imbibed. Folly has nothing to do with quantity and everything to do with lack of quality.

Three things seem true about fools:

There’s more! Click here to continue reading →

I originally thought that I’d post this article here, then decided to put it on my other blog. I thought it would still be interesting to those of you following me here. If you’d like to read the rest, just click here. 🙂

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Standing in Truth — Without a Crutch

No matter what you think the truth is, and no matter what you think knowing the truth amounts to, here’s something that you can’t get around…

If you know the truth because others convinced you that it’s the truth, (“truth” meaning, simply: what you believe is true, whatever that might be,) your knowledge can also be undone by others. If the only reason you believe it’s the truth is that someone led you to believe it, they can likewise lead you away from believing it. (I’ve seen this happen first-hand in the pseudo-cultic group I used to be involved with. The founders must be turning over in their graves at how their work has been turned over on its head, lol.)

So, maybe you were led to truth, or maybe it was fiction, or maybe you got led away from truth or fiction. If all you’ve got for it is the word of others, no matter how many there are or how authoritative they might be, you don’t know what happened, whether you were led to or away from what, so in fact you don’t really know much at all.

If you try to know the truth in a way that makes you independent, two things will happen:

  1. Those who want to lead you will warn against it, that you’re making a mistake, or even that you’ll go crazy. If you persist, they’ll eventually treat you as if you’re dangerous or even evil.
  2. You will in fact go crazy unless you do one of two other things:
  1. Give up and go back to what truth-leaders say.
  2. Cut your attachment to being led.

Cutting your attachment to being led feels like cutting your tether to sanity and reality. It also feels like Continue reading

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Evil Bastard

God - A Biography by Jack Miles cover

I’m reading Jack Miles’s God: A Biography.

His chapter on Job convinces me that:

  1. “The Lord” (Yahweh) of the Jews was a psychopath.
  2. “God” (elohim) referred to benevolent entities.
  3. The “Judeo-Christian” tradition is an amalgam of beliefs that Jesus expressly rejected, glommed together with a perverted version of his views thanks to early power-crazed ecclesiasts in cahoots with secular rulers to create a “scriptural basis” for authoritarianism and their roles as authorities.

I’m leaning towards the idea that if Jesus’ “heavenly father” (whatever that referred to) had in fact been involved with Abraham and his descendants, it would have been because they were the most brutal, psychotic people he could find — the ultimate challenge on which to demonstrate the power of love. If not, the demented God of Abraham chose him and them precisely because they were the most brutal, psychotic people he could find.

Miles writes about a unique, Jewish form of wisdom: Continue reading

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Lying

Just out on my other blog, but very relevant to Christians and faith, check it out!

“Lying” on Millard’s Blog

A few excerpts:

When we feel powerless, lying gets really attractive. Lies are like mice. They can freak the problematic elephant out of the frame, forcing it to move rather than solving anything, but eventually they proliferate and overrun the whole scene. You’ve heard of “herding cats” no doubt? No one even contemplates herding mice, and yet managing lies is no less absurd or ultimately futile. What’s more, once they realize that they were tricked by deceptive mice, elephants tend to go on trampling rampages…

 
and

Truth not only eventually wins, it’s the only thing real enough to compete in the first place, and there’s no contest. Lies literally aren’t real enough to warrant resistance, because they and their apparent opposition are false, which means they are not even there. Their power is a ruse that consists entirely in their credibility — in being believed — which is one reason why Jesus advised, “Do not resist an evil person.” Their evil is a trick, so resisting it is only to fall for chicanery.

 
and

We don’t overcome enemies by eliminating them, but by fixing the noxious, distorting damage to our views inflicted by belief in lies that make others look like enemies. This is the only way to take a position from which we can genuinely love them — which means actually feel love for them — and it raises the more important question: Do we want to love them? In many cases the answer is clearly, “No!” If not, then in some sense we hate them, and only because we believed lies. If so, then where does “evil” actually lie? This is very easy to test. Challenge people or yourself to get to know your “enemies” so-called. Converse with them. Get an understanding of them person to person in real communication. Haters are easy to spot by their adamancy, refusing even to try. Reasons and excuses for refusing to try are just more arguments from ignorance. More bullshit. Lies.

 
I hope you’ll check it out! 🙂

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Give the Guy a Hand

Patreon banner

 

 

 

Check out my new page on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/MillardJMelnyk

I’m finally asking for help to support my work. Here’s a peek:

Patreon sneakpeek
(Click above to read more…)

If you like what I write and where it’s headed, then help me go farther and faster! 🙂

Or if you think I’m headed for a cliff, then help me go farther, faster, and let’s get it over with! 😉

Either way, I’m definitely on a track and this little engine is just picking up speed.

ReLOVEution3 or bust! 😀

ReLOVEution Reversal

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Follow the Blessing

I haven’t posted here for a long time. Christianity per se just hasn’t been much on my radar.

Today’s post on my other blog ought to keenly interest Christians, so here’s a link to the article: Follow the Blessing.

Here’s a couple of excerpts:

Six years ago I began an experiment with Joseph Campbell’s “follow your bliss.” I recently expanded that into “follow the blessing” so as to be more inclusive and less narcissistic, although there’s no way around the fact that our interest in other people’s bliss or blessing is inextricably entwined with our own. I also want to recognize that a wonderful life isn’t one long flow of the euphoria that “bliss” can imply. Sometimes bliss feels like deep satisfaction or contented peace. It can also feel ecstatic. It can also feel like victory after serious struggle or relief after intense pain. “Blessing” covers all the above.
 
Following the blessing means doing what feels blessed. It might bless you, or it might bless others — usually both. But what does doing that mean practically?

and

Maybe the decision to follow the blessing is the “narrow gate” that Jesus mentioned?
 
¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
Funny how most Christians think that he was talking about precisely the opposite of anything we would regard as bliss or blessing that we feel.

Check it out if you’re interested on a practical take on a modern way of understanding a “walk in the Spirit.”

🙂

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Overcoming Evil With Good

I think a lot about what it means to “overcome evil with good”. There’s a lot of crap going on that qualifies for extremely undesirable and detrimental (my working definition of “evil”) and we seem to know squat about how to handle it, let alone how to eliminate and prevent it.

So how do we overcome evil with good?

Unfortunately, information seems scarce. Certain kinds of information seem overly abundant, but it’s all pretty theoretical and abstract. Most of it takes this form: Do A, B, and C and I/we/the gods promise that Z will happen. Promises, promises. You know it’s bullshit when they want to charge up front for the “secrets” that you need just to try the experiment. Why not give you a free trial so that you can see if it works as advertised, just like an app — unless they already know that it’s bullshit? Or even more to the point, if goodness and love and faith are supposedly the foundations for their wisdom, why not show some goodness, love, and faith in us? If I made you happy for life, are you telling me that you wouldn’t want to do something good for me in return? We’re supposed to take their word and trust them when they don’t trust us? And we’re not talking about scarce commodities here, mysteries so rare that it takes precautions to ensure that we properly compensate them — especially not if they keep blathering about abundance, LMAO! If there’s oodles, what’s to be stingy about? And if there isn’t oodles, what are they on about?

I’ve decided that “spiritual” teachers who do not follow a gift economy model — where the teacher gifts his wisdom, and students gift their gratitude in return — don’t know shit about Continue reading

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Violent Love

In our violence-ridden, non-violence espousing, uber-offendable culture, we forget that men and women of peace are also men and women of violence, hatred, and anger.

We suffered fools because they filled the world with their toxic counterfeits of “power” and we, fearing to be fools, foolishly laid down for it, letting them tread us thin and batter us until we lost any concept of genuine powers or how to use them.

No one who loves lays down for abuse and oppression. Everyone who loves, fights. We just don’t fight the way that fools do. They fight against people for “law” and “order” and “morality” and “righteousness” and “the greater good” and even “God”. We fight for and together with people against their bondage and their bonds. Continue reading

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Christ Manifested in the Flesh

This one’s a little Bible study on one of the most misunderstood concepts in the New Testament.

1 Timothy 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; He who was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the spirit, Seen of angels, Preached among the nations, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory. (ASV)

Yup, pretty mysterious. You probably haven’t heard a sermon on that passage recently.

For one thing, if Christ or God (translations vary) was manifested — revealed, made clear, displayed — in the flesh, what was there to justify? Isn’t revealing Christ in a human life supposed to prove the reality and the benefits of God and his power and prove the person as God’s faithful child? What’s wrong with that and who could possibly challenge it?

And why manifested “in the flesh”, but justified “in the spirit”? How do you justify something in the spirit?

Romans Chapter 7 is the key… Continue reading

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Unconditional Love

Batya with her kids on Purim

Batya with her kids on Purim

http://www.aish.com/sp/so/Love-without-Conditions.html#.UzxOkSBXFyg.facebook

Wow. What a piece of writing. I’m awed.

As to whether we love unconditionally, ever, I liked the way she answered it experientially. I think it isn’t as tough a question as we often think, though. It helps to make a distinction between intention and action.

Intentionally, unconditional love isn’t all that hard. Intending unconditional love, bliss, good fortune, etc., for another human being is no real stretch, especially for those we’re close to and care about. I think the problem is that we’ve been taught to devaluate and discredit the importance of intention. The road to hell might be paved with good intentions, but it’s not paved because people had good intentions — rather because something stopped them. Something made them lose faith that they could follow through on their intentions. So the road to hell is actually paved with good intentions that something killed.

What killed them? Continue reading

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The God Debacle

I don’t participate in the God Debacle anymore, because I find it profoundly lacking intellectual honesty on both sides of the question. The argument between atheists and theists has all the earmarks of a debate about a third party that’s standing right there and could speak for himself if anyone would just pay attention.

Atheists fail to ask a simple question: God, are you there and, if so, could you please show me? So easy. Which of you has sincerely done that? If not, you don’t have shit to say. You don’t eliminate the existence of God by countering arguments for his existence, any more than you eliminate me by countering every argument that claims I’m here. You don’t eliminate the existence of God because of lack of evidence, especially not when you insist that “evidence” be limited to what by nature has no bearing on the question. You don’t eliminate the existence of God by putting the burden of proof on others. That’s like a scientist who refuses to look for sign of the undiscovered because no one can convince him that there’s anything to find. Why not? Because they have no evidence? LMAO! What a freaking joke, especially since we’re not talking about inanimate materials buried deep in mountains or retiring species hidden in remote ecosystems. Atheists are eager to hunt for those, but probe for an allegedly ubiquitous quarry? Not so much.

After all, we’re talking about a being who could answer for himself if asked but, ironically and for the most part, atheists really don’t want to ask. They seem afraid to ask. Or maybe they’re afraid they’ll get an answer. Or maybe they’re afraid they won’t be able to tell whether they got an answer or not. All this airy-fairy spiritual stuff is just so hard to put your finger on with any certainty, you know. Give them cold, hard science any day and they’ll be content, even happy. Is it because specimens don’t talk back, let alone express will or present existential difficulties? Bugs would say, “Eh… COULD be…”

“Believers” fail to believe a simple proposition: If God is real, he can speak for himself — and not only can he, but he does and he will. The hypocrisy of the unbelief involved in Continue reading

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Idiots

What’s to be done with idiots?

We all know that every trouble of the world is some idiot’s fault. Just ask anyone. Regardless what the problem, idiots are behind it, screwing things up for pleasure, pain, or profit.

My lifelong perplexity is why so few of us want to do something about it.

Maybe people are afraid of becoming idiots themselves, I’ve wondered. Then I realized the folly of my question. They aren’t afraid of becoming idiots… they’re afraid that they already are, and that engaging with other idiots will only highlight their own idiocy in sharp relief. So, they walk the other way, leaving idiots to foul the place at will and compromise the safety and happiness of everyone else. Turning backs and blind eyes to it is weak, callous, and cowardly — its own kind of idiocy.

In my teens, I despaired that I could do much about idiots. I contemplated and rejected suicide, so instead Continue reading

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Invitation

A recent meme proclaimed “Capitalism Kills Love” and I agree. In fact, capitalism is a theory that assumes that God and love are irrelevant.

That got me thinking about how we regard the universe. Our sciences regard humans as the supremely “intelligent” species, and everything besides “life forms” as inanimate. In other words, dead. It and our other “knowledge” disciplines regard humans, life forms, and the universe itself largely as potential menaces that must be conquered and controlled to ensure our survival and safety. And if we don’t regard them as such, then we must be demented to want to conquer and control things that pose no threat and enable our existence six ways from Sunday. Either way, no love there.

What if we’ve got it all wrong? What if it’s all alive, intelligent (in ways we’re still too dumb to understand), and friendly? What if it all just wants to play, but we keep freaking out on contact, killing it, subjugating it, imprisoning it, and exploiting it?

What would happen if instead of trying to secure safety, abundance, happiness, and the rest that we aspire to, we invited them instead? What if we omitted the “or else?” What if we afforded others — “animate” and “inanimate” — the same consideration we’d like when they want something from us? Do we presume that the universe doesn’t want us happy?

I think that’s exactly what we presume at a very deep level; which is why it’s so difficult to truly be happy and believe that happiness is our birthright.

It’s not that we don’t want to help or give. We just don’t want to be forced. We want to make the decision ourselves and be appreciated when we do. We want the opportunity to connect with others and show that we appreciate them by sharing what we can. That rule shouldn’t change when the shoe is on the other foot.

Maybe we’re not living abundant lives because life is resisting our demands and manipulative machinations, waiting for our invitation. Maybe that invitation is what it really means to “have faith.”

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Temptation

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (New Living Translation — NLT)

We usually think that temptation comes from without, but only a small part hails from circumstances or other people. The brunt of attractive or repulsive tempting force originates within. It takes a fair bit of narcissism to think that our integrity is the main issue in a given situation; more so to hold the situation or others responsible.

So, the “way of escape” from temptation is primarily a matter of perspective: first a recognition of the route through a given situation, not a task of altering the situation to make a way through it. The situation, of course, needs altering — we don’t live in Eden — but we can’t clearly see to remove specks from other eyes until we take the logs out of our own.

Temptations aren’t about enticements or tendencies to Continue reading

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Redemption

The Christian church says a lot about redemption, but demonstrates a glaring lack of competence to redeem. The proof? Christians invest far, far more into arguing that they are redeemed than showing and living it.

The church’s version of redemption is:

Here are the hoops. Jump through them and you will be redeemed.

Ask yourself: Who does the redeeming in that model?

The arguments about redemption across innumerable schisms within and between Christian sects, often euphemized as Continue reading

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Is God Hiding?

I often hear atheists and skeptics raise the “lack of evidence” objection to the possible existence of God. I’ve rarely–never, actually–seen any take time to consider how it would feel to be right there, presumed imaginary, then dared to “prove” their existences.

Think of your most intimate, vulnerable, secret self, the one you would only allow your most trusted lover to see. Or maybe you’ve never let anyone see it. Maybe you hardly let yourself look that deeply at the unclothed, raw, tender you.

Now visualize yourself putting that deepest, most sensitive part of you on display, Exhibit A atop the evidence table in a courtroom, you the defendant in a case against your own existence, with skeptical, judgmental eyes surrounding you, looking for reasons to declare you a fraud.

What makes us think that God faces anything less vulnerable in revealing herself to us? Why would it be less fragile a moment than that first, tentative disrobing of a virgin by her lover? Why would God reveal less than her most delicately sensile side to us?

God might be omnipotent or unassailable, but none of the ancients claimed that she is impervious, let alone insensitive. These aren’t the brutal days of Moses and Pharoah and burning bushes. These are days when, according to Jesus, God and her children move like an exquisite, gentle breeze–warm and soft as breath.

Think about that the next time you wonder where God is hiding. Maybe we should think more about why God hides than where. And maybe we’d do ourselves a favor to consider whom God is hiding from. Like lovelorn lads, pining and hunting for the “right one,” heads spinning with all that she will be to them, rarely do we wonder what we will be to her.

What is the prospect of contact with us like from God’s side? God might love us; but does she want to? Maybe that’s the rub: maybe we’re afraid of what we are and what we’ll prove to be under God’s gaze. Maybe we’re afraid how she’ll react if she sees us naked, with nowhere to hide. Maybe that’s why no one can see God and live–not because glimpsing the divine image kills, but because the prospect of being exposed to her penetrating, consuming scrutiny mortifies us to literal death.

Maybe  God graciously hides from us until we can bear the encounter.

One thing is clear: while God hides, we cannot see her, we cannot know her, and we cannot know of her. We might hear of her, but we’ll remain blind until further notice.

On the other hand, if God came out of hiding and revealed herself to you, how would you respond?

I can hardly get a straight answer to that question from skeptics and atheists. It’s as if they’re afraid to consider the possibility. In fact, it often seems like they’re dead set against allowing it, let alone honestly facing it.

If God revealed herself to you, what difference would it make? Any? Or would you chalk it up to delusion, consult a doc, and pop a pill?

Maybe there’s good reason for God to hide.

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Intimidation

I got beat down
But I stood up
You criticized my standing up
It was not to your liking
Alright
But stand I will

I got stifled
But I spoke up
You criticized my voice
It was not to your liking
Alright
But speak I will

I got frightened
But I emerged
You criticized my revealing
It was not to your liking
Alright
But shine I will

I got threatened
But I shunned it
You criticized my “defiance”
It was not to your liking
Tough
I’m solid

Get used to it

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Senses

They told me, “This is the way: gouge out your eyes.”
So I did. Then they said, “We’ll lead you.”

They told me, “This is the way: burn off your ears.”
So I did. Then they said, “We’ll interpret for you.”

They told me, “This is the way: tear out your tongue.”
So I did. Then they said, “We speak for you.”

Then they told me, “This is the way: whore out your heart.”
But I said, “No.”

So they abandoned me, destitute.

Lord, revive my eyes and ears. Recover my tongue. Let my heart embrace and my bowels yearn.

Be merciful.

Let me see,
Let me hear,
Let me speak,
Let me feel and meld again.

You took nothing from me. I ceded. I abdicated.
It was my doing, my sin.

Forgive me.
Heal me.
Restore me.

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Pigs and Pearls

Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
— Matthew 7:6

Why do pigs trample pearls underfoot?

Obviously, they have no appreciation for pearls.

Your interest in pearls is irrelevant to their interest in food, so any time or attention you put into pearls is a distraction from their purpose of getting food. At best, pearls are a delay, a drain that interferes with your role as a potential food source. They want food, but you toss pearls? That’s not gonna work. At worst, pearls totally shift the power balance to the detriment of their food-acquisition agenda and, therefore, constitute a real and present threat that must be eliminated. So they trample away.

But why do they turn and tear you to pieces?

If they decide that you are devoted to pearls, and therefore devoted to the detriment of their food acquisition agenda, then you are a threat, not just your pearls. You must be eliminated. So they turn and tear away.

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Clothes

Bride and Groom

The Bible’s use of the metaphor of clothing is intriguing. Here’s a read on it that I guarantee you never heard from the pulpit… Continue reading

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The Tyranny of Money

Prison is prison, whether it’s a bad job, a bad relationship, or literally trapped by exploiters or tyrants. No one likes the tyranny of money, but we can’t fathom a way to get free from it. So we do what all victims do having lost hope: we count it our savior.

Money is like an abusive husband — forcing itself on us, making itself first, always first. Love of money is love of a tormentor; but of course, we wouldn’t be so shallow and twisted. Not us! No matter that before we can do what we want, we have to take care of money. No matter that before we can give our children attention, we have to neglect them so that we can “earn” the “means” to concoct “quality time” with them. No matter that all they want are our bodies and hearts as near and for as long as possible, rags or riches regardless. No matter that before we can help others, our accounts must be full and content.

Take care of money first or it screams in our heads, drowning out everyone we care about, beating us up until food becomes a chore, sleep flees from us, and we dread each new day, putting on useless smiles, vainly hoping to avoid the next beating.

So, what can we do? More, of course. Just like any other abuser, money puts it all on us, promising that everything will change after more time, more work, more pain, more humiliation, more neglect of the very things that make anything matter at all, until we reach the magic tipping point: “enough.” Of course, “enough” never comes — not ever — no matter how much more we get.

When will we stop caving to tyranny, swallowing its bullshit, and slaving? Or did you think you were doing something else — following your bliss or living your dream, maybe? Judging by those who actually freed themselves from abusers, exploiters, and tyrants, we’ll liberate ourselves as soon as we stop caring whether freedom is “possible” and realize that — possible or not — it’s not worth living without. Not even for money.

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Hearing the Voice of God

The biggest single hindrance to hearing the voice of God is believing that we don’t already hear it.

Who gave you to believe that? Right–the same people who told you to come to them, that God tells them what you need to hear, so all that’s left is for you to listen. They’re so considerate.

Why do you go to your pastor or priest or guru to find out God’s opinion, when God has been telling you directly all your life? God’s voice isn’t lacking, nor is its volume, nor is its clarity. All that’s lacking is trust.

You already know, down deep where you hide from others’ scrutiny; where you Continue reading

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Draft of Constructive Engagement Paradigm (ICSA Conference, Italy)

LOL, not that I expect anyone to actually READ 70 pages, but it’s the best I can do under the circumstances. In another year or so it will be down to only 60 pages, HAHA!

This is still in draft. I’ve got one week to edit it. It’s a distillation of my last four years of research applied to the problem of high-risk interactions.

I didn’t realize when I started, but now I see that it’s applicable to everything from domestic abuse to terrorism, with civil protest, cults, age/gender/race relations, and probably a few more I failed to mention in between. It addresses the basic problem of making power-imbalanced interactions constructive instead of destructive. I’m really excited about it.

If you do brave the waters, please let me know what you think! All’s fair and all’s good. 🙂

Constructive Engagement Paradigm as presented July 5, 2013, at the ICSA Conference in Trieste, Italy

(Note on Aug. 11, 2013 — The link above is the version I actually presented at the conference, a fair bit different than the one I originally posted here in June. I have no idea why anyone would want access to the draft, but here’s a link just in case: Constructive Engagement Paradigm DRAFT)

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Constructive Engagement Paradigm (ICSA Conference, Italy)

I’m headed to Trieste, Italy, to present a paper proposing a “Constructive Engagement Paradigm” at the annual conference of the International Cultic Studies Association. ICSA is a network including both professionals and non-professionals who are “concerned about psychological manipulation and abuse in cultic groups, alternative movements, and other environments.”

My paper describes an alternative approach for engaging with people stuck in problematic relationships. It isn’t specific to “cults,” but I figure that if it works with “cults” it can work with just about any kind of abusive relationship. (I don’t like the term “cult” for the same reasons that I don’t like other thought-terminating clichés.)

Here’s the abstract that was accepted, landing me a spot at the conference; although when I submitted it, I called it Group Involvement Integrity Paradigm: ICSA 2013 Abstract – Constructive Engagement Paradigm

Here’s the conference flyer, if you’d like to check it out: Annual Conference, Trieste, Italy

Attendees represent an impressive spread from around the world. I’m one of over 100 presenters. My first paper and my first presentation, but hopefully not my last!

Wish me luck! I’ve always been terrified of public speaking, but I’m oddly confident this time. Should be fun! 🙂

Update: Here’s the draft of my paper, all 70 pages! If you do brave the waters, please let me know what you think! All’s fair and all’s good. 🙂

Constructive Engagement Paradigm DRAFT.

I’ll update this with the final version before I leave on the 1st…

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An Aspect of the Death of Jesus Christ

Paul the Apostle wrote quite at bit about the death of Jesus Christ. Many people (who care to wonder about such things, LOL!) think he referred to the physical death of Jesus and his supposed separation from the Father. That’s pretty unuseful to anyone but theologians. Paul wasn’t writing about physical death on a cross or separation from God, but something fundamental that we participate in–or should, anyway. Besides, how can the Christ “die?” Riddle me that, preacher.

I suspect that the willingness to face realities that take us beyond our hope, knowing that there is hope we’re unaware of nonetheless, is an element of the death of Jesus Christ. The “death” isn’t a separation from God or from life but from the security of the known; a step we take connected with life, trusting God, into the darkness of what we have yet to learn. We refuse to let the limitations of our meager hopes stop us. God is much greater than our hearts and our hopes. Like Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, hope that is seen is not hope. Abraham believed in hope against hope: hope in God against any hopes that made sense to him at the time as he contemplated–not denied–his own body, “now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.”

When we face “impossibilities,” we need to check whether they are truly impossible or just Continue reading

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Why Christians Are Pansies

pansy_dynamite_blueberry-th

This is the kind of inflammatory piece I like to write from time to time. Check that. I hate writing them, actually. I hate the fact that they need to be written. I hate the bullshit that makes them necessary. And I hate feeling angry. But, given the shitty situation we find ourselves in, I’m happy to do something about it.

I’m amused by people’s reactions when I speak out about hypocrisy. Yes, I have a right to lambaste hypocrites. You do too. Don’t fault me because I exercise mine while you shrink back, intimidated by yours. And, no, I don’t need to be kind or nice or polite to hypocrites. How did I or anyone end up owing them that–as if an overabundance of kindness, niceness, and politeness on their part created a deficit? Seriously? Hypocrisy is assholeishness. Only assholes look you straight in the face and tell you one thing while they know they’re going to do another. Are you kind, nice, and polite to the assholes in your life? If you are to their faces, I bet you go home and vent about them behind their backs; so how deep does your kindness, niceness, and politeness really go?

Enough disclaimers.

Christians are pansies for a variety of reasons. Here are just a few. Continue reading

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On Trust

Holding Hands

The more we trust, the less reassurance we need, and the more implicit our expressions of affection become.

For one thing, the more secure we are in a relationship, the safer we feel to move out from the relationship into the world, because we’re less afraid that something will go wrong with the relationship if we pay attention elsewhere for a while. On the contrary, the relationship becomes our safe haven from which we can explore and dare, as well as our refuge when we inevitably run into trouble. Our trusting partners and comrades also support our move outward, enjoying their role in our growth and expansion, instead of interpreting the shift as a signal that we don’t recognize their importance. This is what happens of necessity when parents have children: less time for face-to-face attention and more collaboration of two as one, facing their children together.

For another thing, deliberately testing love is a way to honor and celebrate it. Why do best friends Continue reading

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Of Liberty and Laughter

I’ve been getting out and meeting people lately, something relatively new for a reclusive homebody like me. I met with a great group of people last night to discuss an interesting topic. What happened took me by surprise.

I usually do pretty well at finding out what a gathering is about and how to contribute in ways that add rather than detract. Last night I was stymied. It was frustrating. I don’t like throwing wrenches into gearworks, especially when I’m the newbie, but all I could find were wrenches.

By the time I was next to last to talk, I felt at a complete loss. So, I decided to be honest, take the risk of being the token downer for the evening, and did my best to say something genuine, no matter how it did or didn’t fit. Afterwards, I wasn’t so sure; silence might have been the better part of valor. I even explained my “believe first, ask questions later” policy. That was ironic, given that I talked about it precisely because I couldn’t find a way to do it.

I couldn’t process the situation quickly enough to handle it better at the time, but this morning I realized what the problem was. It had to do with energy and creativity.

Jesus said that we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. When I’ve encountered truth like that, and when I’ve seen others encounter it, a single, simple reaction marks the event. We laugh. Laughing is the sign of something so unexpectedly cool that we have no other way of reacting. It’s what comedians do to us.

Truth that sets us free is never the same old same old. It’s not familiar. It’s not just a new shade of orange — it’s a kumquat or a life jacket. It doesn’t occur to us if we don’t need liberation; but if we do, then we need unfamiliar, surprising truths. There are lesser ones, I’m sure, but I’m also sure that there’s no good reason to settle for them. When you find an angle that makes you laugh, you found one that was worth looking for.

As I listened last night to people sharing their insights, I heard familiar ideas and methods; but boredom wasn’t the problem. I was frustrated by lack of enthusiasm, by ideas and methods that were familiar to them. These were truths that they hoped would improve their lives. Liberation didn’t seem to be an issue, nor was laughter very evident.

When we follow recipes, prescribed methods, regimens, practices, etc., we hope to achieve goals by using a corrective or aid. The ends are defined, the means are defined, and so the only question is whether we’ll do what it takes to “get there.” This is the opposite of liberation. This is achieving better conditions inside the same old, familiar prison.

Liberation cannot be prescribed, because it eliminates prescription. Liberation is not a matter of achieving defined goals, but of opening unfamiliar vistas to entirely new ranges of possibility, freeing us to choose the goals we want to achieve and how we want to achieve them. In other words, liberation frees us to create.

Creativity, by its nature, is unauthorized. Therefore, creativity works against status quo and political correctness. Creative acts and their products can coincidentally line up with social norms and mores, but concern for that alignment doesn’t inspire them. Pressure to fit in only hampers creativity or, at best, acts like an irritant provoking pearls of creativity to form in reaction.

Creativity necessarily and unavoidably involves danger. This is why artists and creative thinkers in any sector get socially marginalized, especially during their most creative periods and for their most creative efforts. Associating with them is socially risky. If they do become publicly recognized, they get accosted with that strange contradiction we call “celebrity,” an incongruent celebration of lives that we have no intention of personally engaging with, but which we enjoy making a ruckus over, occasionally titillating ourselves with the fruits of their labors for short periods under contrived circumstances.

In that society is dehumanizing, creativity is intrinsically anti-social, because creativity is a life-engendering assertion of not only the human spirit but the human individual. Essential to creativity is a defiant, independent self-affirmation that challenges the very predication of society. Creativity is an act of violence, not against humans or humanity or any other valuable reality, but against the myths that occupy human psyches in opposition to the dignity and sovereignty and power of the single living being — the sanctity and sacredness of one.

Creativity can do what strength in numbers cannot, enabling one to overcome many. Even if the many physically destroy creator and creation, they cannot destroy the creativity that creator and creation embodied. The most that the many can do is destroy physical traces and block them from individual and collective memory. The energy and resources that this destruction and erasure require only affirm the power and consequence of the creativity they tried to obliterate. When everything is finally revealed as it truly is and was, the supremacy of creation will blare and its triumph will be complete and absolute.

In order to get creative, then, we must be willing to stand alone, do something that no one else will do, and risk the dangers of blowback and fallout. Creativity is daring. You feel it when you get around it, a completely different, defiant energy that’s absent when people play it safe or busily follow directions.

Creative energy not only seemed lacking last night — it seemed blocked. But that wasn’t what frustrated me. I felt unable to do anything about it. I had no clue what to do. I usually have at least that. I looked around the table and listened to each person as they spoke, hearing their sincere interests in something better, felt one with them in that, and yet felt like nothing we said made a dent towards getting what we wanted. Not that I’m always supposed to have the answer, of course. I’m just a guy. But all of us can and should contribute to an answer; otherwise what are we doing here? I hope that I can do better next time.

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Narcissism

I’ve been interested in narcissism for a long time, partly ‘cuz I is one, as are we all. Also, because some of the most important people in my life were and are narcissists, big ones and little ones. Narcissism has, one way or another, defined me; and I don’t think I’m the only one. It behooves us to understand it.

I wrote a piece three years ago on one of my other blogs, my first article on the subject, Narcissists. Check it out to see if I learned anything in the meantime. 😉 I doubt this second one will be my last.

I’m not a psychologist, and although I’m interested in the thinking of psychologists, I’m not primarily interested in a psychological understanding of narcissism, but one that enables regular people like you and me to deal with it.

In a nutshell, as best as I can understand it so far, narcissism is avoidance behavior. What are we trying to avoid? The psychic/spiritual pain inflicted on us by internalizing the lie that we are evil. By evil, I mean ugly, despicable, repugnant, harmful, toxic, ridiculous, alien, sinister, pitiful, rejectable, pathetic, bad — and every other negative adjective we’ve ever felt about ourselves — stuffed into an annihilating abnegation of our dignity and condemnation of our worth.

We’re all narcissistic. There isn’t a line that you cross from non-narcissistic to are-narcissistic. It’s a spectrum. We notice narcissism once it gets obvious, but Continue reading

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To Trust or Not to Trust

mustard+seed

Mustard seeds must really pack a wallop!

I’m learning that I don’t need to know hows, whys, and wherefores before I commit myself to something good. That’s what following our bliss/following the Spirit means to me: first commit to the good that I love, then cooperate in the process of figuring out the details. That’s the sequence that honors me, the good, and everyone else involved.

Reverse that sequence and we become slaves to how, when, where, and what. That might not sound so bad, because we’re so used to living that way: governed by and even at the mercy of forces, times, places, and things. Not only is it no fun being wagged, it tends to not make much sense. Our sense of meaning, purpose, and personal power are much enhanced when we start with why and make the decisions ourselves. We sure were conditioned to operate otherwise, though.

What good reason could there possibly be to want something good while thinking it isn’t going to happen? Or what reason for thinking it won’t happen if we’re sure it’s good? Why wouldn’t it? If it’s good, why do we even question Continue reading

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Unidentified Divine Objects

It just occurred to me this morning how simple it is to identify God and “God things” (an expression my Evangelical friends use, as in, “it’s a God thing.”)

We get to identify God for ourselves, not others. That requires us to–guess what–trust others to identify God for themselves. What a novel idea! 😉

(FYI, I posted this on our Facebook Group Awakening Together: an experiment in trust-based community just this morning. Please stop by and check it out. We’re a lively crew!)

I can say that God “spoke” to me, but that doesn’t mean that I heard what God wants to tell you. If it sounds like God to you, it’s because God is “speaking” the same thing to you. If it doesn’t sound like God to you, either God isn’t “speaking” that to you, or I’m listening to a different God, or Continue reading

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Join Me on Crushing Shit and Shitty People

WWII Surrender of Germans in France

I’m drawn lately to work on a blog I started a while back but haven’t paid much attention to. I can only write so much in a day, so my posts here will probably slow down somewhat.

Crushing Shit and Shitty People is my lab for exploring how to deal with the dark side of life. My premise: anything is easy once it gets fun.

Why can’t dealing with evil be fun? If it could be, life would suddenly be a gas! And why shouldn’t it be? We seem to believe more in the power of evil than we do in the power of good.

If you knew that every time you faced evil you’d crush it, wouldn’t that be outstanding? Would you need to pack a weapon to feel powerful, then? Would you walk around with jaw clenched, hyper-alert, able to trust only under special conditions? Would you smile more? Would you be more relaxed and approachable? Would you feel happier?

I think it’s worth a look. Check it out here .

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Exploring the Dark Side

yinYang

I’m looking for people who want to go farther spiritually than just explore the light side.

Too many are afraid of the dark side. It’s real, and we need to learn how to deal with it effectively. Most modern spiritual writers completely ignore it.

Wait. I’ll take that back. Most writers relegate it to confines so tight that it leaves the darkness of exploitation, abuse, and violence all kinds of room to do whatever the fuck. The darkness of exploitation and violence has covered the earth for millennia and met little resistance, except for that of other violent exploiters, even now.

Being the change we wish to see in the world is the first step, but just the first. Who wants to explore the second with me? Paul the apostle called it overcoming evil with good. Continue reading

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Hypocrite

Yes, I know what day it is. 🙂

I considered delaying this, but all the reasons to wait were bad ones.

Pleasantry in the name of love is easy to accept, even when it’s insincere. Harsh truth is almost always resisted, even if given truly in love. We go so far as to claim that love cannot be harsh, wrongly blaming the harshness we feel on the truth-teller. Once felt, we rarely bother to question its true source.

Why post something “negative” on Valentine’s Day? Because I awoke at 5:30 AM this morning and it came to me then. I assume there was a reason for that. Besides, if it’s lost on you because my timing seems irksome, you probably need to hear it more than you think.

I wish you all the love in the world today. Even if I didn’t, it’s already yours. It has already been given to you. You are loved.

============

Faced with love, you question beliefs. Hypocrite.

Faced with truth, you condemn the messenger. Hypocrite.

Surrounded by suffering, you fault the sufferers. Hypocrite.

Claiming the cure, you make the sick seek you out, then force or connive them to pay.

Hypocrite.

You extol the virtues of service and sacrifice while defending principles of self-interest.
You claim to be strong in a world that you paint as a dangerous place.
You claim to care but can only trust with difficulty.
You pretend to know God or Good while fearing the power of people.

And in spite of all this, you refuse to grieve. Instead, you say it can’t be otherwise.

Hypocrite.

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Demand Love

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another…
— Romans 13:8

Many people read those words to mean, “Don’t let yourself get into debt, except for loving each other.” Others read it, “Take care of all your debts, so that love is the only one remaining.” Read the quote above again and see how you interpret it.

The emphasis of both those readings is debt. What’s up with that? Why presume that we already have debts, or that the first priority should be to minimize or eliminate indebtedness? Sure, debt is an important issue, but more important than love? Judging by our relative attention to them, love takes second chair. Interesting emotional gravitation. Besides, that’s up-to-zero thinking. What about after becoming debt-free? Do we spend much time thinking about that, or is it about as real to us as pearly gates? Or, do we never expect to get there?

Many people, especially Christians who respect Augustine and Aquinas and Luther believe that we start life indebted; or, at least, that any innocence we began with as children was lost soon after because of “sin.” And so, Jesus died on the cross and paid our “debt of sin” for us. The larger society might not follow this line of thinking, and it doesn’t need to, with school loans, employment, house loans, car loans, “consumer” loans, duty to God, country, community, family, our fellow man, and a zillion other ways to obligate and indebt us at its disposal. Our societal paradigm–how parenting, families, school, work, church, military, and government actually work–effectively claims that we start out owing everything to everybody. Then, it claims, we must work hard to pay the debt off.

That’s actually what “earning a living” is all about. In other words, we don’t deserve Continue reading

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What Good Are Laws?

This is an intentionally ire-raising piece addressed to everyone who loves to talk about God and love but remains clueless about what they are.

So, you who love to talk, answer me this. If we have God’s love in our hearts, why do we need laws?

“Well,” you say, “we do need laws: God’s laws!

Right you are, but those are supposed to be written on our minds and our hearts. At least Jeremiah and the writer of Hebrews thought so.

So, if God’s laws are written on our hearts and on our minds, why do we need any other laws? Continue reading

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Mother of Lies

(This was written specifically about the Christian Church, but is no doubt applicable to other religious institutions.)

Does the church lie? Of course it does.

Is the church a liar (insofar as we can consider any organization or movement to be “a liar”)? Indubitably.

No, I’m not just being pugnacious or cheeky.

The church claims to be the bastion of right, goodness, and truth. Any authority with such claims assumes two key responsibilities, simply by taking its stand:

  1. Merit the authority it claims or wields
  2. Be honest about its shortcomings

The church does neither and yet claims authority by virtue of righteousness and defense of truth, the two very things that should ensure its wild success–not dismal failure–in both key responsibilities. Let’s look at the easier, second key responsibility first. How hard can it be to honestly admit one’s shortcomings?

Shortcomings indicate failure to meet expectations. Being honest about our shortcomings implies three things: Continue reading

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Authority, obligation, and duty

The Bible says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment.” 1 John 4:18

So, authority that involves punishment is a stranger to love, because love banishes the fear that empowers such “authority.” Obligation and duty motivated by fear of authority or the consequences of resisting authority have nothing to do with love. 

Authority that puts people in fear, forcing them out of love, is an evil substitute for real authority. Obligation and duty are evil substitutes for care. The fact that authority, obligation, and duty seem necessary, even inescapable, only shows how weak and corrupted our thinking is.

Therefore, it is wrong to obey authority out of fear of what will happen if we don’t. According to the Bible, that kind of “obedience” and “duty” take us out of love, so they are false. They are cowardice. They are sin.

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Trust, Belief, and Faith

For as long as I’ve been trying to understand truth, at least since high school sophomore philosophy, I’ve struggled with three terms: trust, belief, and faith. The more I’ve asked and read about them, the muddier the waters have gotten.

I’d like to propose some very simple and clear definitions for these important terms. The definitions aren’t original, nor can I cite my sources. They were distilled from my personal wrestling with the angel of clarity. I feel I’ve won the match. You can let me know if you think a return bout is called for.

Trust: a sense of safety that determines the range of Continue reading

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Cult Thinking Explained

Cults continue to mystify most people, even those intimately familiar with them. This bothers me. I was a fundamentalist and then a quasi-cult member for more than 20 years. I should understand how cult thinking works; understanding thinking is what I do. Why is it so difficult to grasp?

(I say “quasi-cult” both because I never fully embraced cult thinking, and because “Smith’s Friends,” as they were known at the time, fell on the tamer end of the cult excess scale. Today, they call themselves Brunstad Christian Church or simply BCC, and in many ways are more “normal” now than they used to be, so the group only rates quasi-status in my view.)

During my first few years out of the fundie-cult world, I got little heads-ups that clued me in to the reasons for the pernicious persistence of puzzlement about cults, but I didn’t fully appreciate them until recently. In short, it’s hard to understand cults because Continue reading

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Fundamentalism

The root problem with fundamentalism is ridiculously simple, and it’s not what most people think.

We might call fundamentalism inane or insane if it weren’t so often deadly serious. Dismissing and ridiculing it won’t help us understand it. As clearly loathsome as the behavior of some fundamentalists might be, it often baffles intelligent, reasonable people. We suspect that the root causes for the fanatical acts of “fundamentalists” lie in their “fundamentalism,” but what precisely is that? Well, the good news is we don’t need PhDs to understand it.

There is a good side to fundamentalism, because it’s good to be clear about our basic beliefs. The bad side of fundamentalism? Fundamentalists close their basic beliefs–their fundamentals–to question or scrutiny. That’s all that “fundamentalism” is: a set of unquestionable basic beliefs.

That’s it. That’s the whole problem and nothing but the problem. Hope you’re not disappointed. Check out the hows and whys below. I doubt you’ll feel disappointed once you’re done.

The act of closing our basic beliefs to question, scrutiny, challenge, testing, and whatever else we can throw at them, is patently illogical and without evidential support. In other words, Continue reading

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Churches

I tried to explain to a friend recently why I have little interest in “fellowship” or any kind of church involvement. That got me thinking about churches.

I love solitude. I enjoy being “alone.” Most of the stuff that goes on in face-to-face interactions revolves around making sure that everybody is OK, having a good time, and doesn’t get their feelings hurt. I’m already all those things without outside input and often in spite of it. I don’t know of anywhere in the Bible that claims those things are virtues, unless that’s our poor idea of “love.” Instead, I want to learn, exchange ideas, and expose myself to new ways of thinking, and I’d like to return the favor. But that’s not what churches are for.

I do miss the warmth and support of being with people who love Jesus. One of my boys played piano for a church that ministers to street addicts. I went there Continue reading

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Controlling the Narrative, Part 5: Outcome

(This is the last in a five-part series of posts. To start at the beginning, click here.)

In Controlling the Narrative, Part 4: Solution, we saw how answering “Says who?” makes the power of Paul’s identity solution accessible to us. In this last part, we’ll look at some implications of becoming self-identifying, self-defined controllers of our own narratives.

Authors All

We who sincerely try to prevent and control our shit know how well it goes: no better than it did for Paul. I’m not implying that we should throw in the towel and stop trying. Paul didn’t; nor was he a passive witness, although he was very much an observer. He considered it all, identified with some of it, and disowned the rest. He chose to be the author. He was not a “sinner saved by grace.” He did not consider himself Continue reading

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Controlling the Narrative, Part 4: Solution

(This is fourth in a five-part series of posts. To start at the beginning, click here.)

In Controlling the Narrative, Part 3: Method, we saw how Paul settled his identity quandary. In this part, we’ll see how answering “Says who?” makes the power of Paul’s identity solution accessible to us.

What Vs. Who

As adults, we get wrapped up in “what” questions. We didn’t start that way, and we won’t end that way either. To children and the aged, even sages, “who” is much more interesting. I advocate a return to the Alpha and Omega of our mental and emotional roots. Who says gets down to the heart of how we think, because our thinking eventually traces back to our emotional connections to people we either trusted or didn’t, and to the consequences of doing one or the other. Compelling stories owe their power to the storyteller. Before we can even ask what questions, we need information; and whatever we get, we always get it from some who. When it comes to the narratives we use to make sense of ourselves and each other, power originates from people. Who always trumps what, and there are good reasons to make sure that we stand at the head of the narrative trail.

People who excel at manipulating other people love what questions, for some very Continue reading

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