An Economic Cycle

You know… the more history you learn, the more patterns you begin to see. There is one which has repeated itself time and time again which somewhat frustrates me.
 
A society that looks out for each other and focuses on working together to give what they can WILL have an excess… this is because while it is very impossible for people to sustain themselves on their own… our strengths together don’t add on each other but instead multiply. When people work together, society begins to lay the groundwork to rebuild and grow.
 
However as I said… there will be an excess. More than we need. As people come to realize this, they begin to come up with methods of acquiring this excess for themselves. Ways to capitalize on it and use it to grow the things they are capable of. And not only will they get away with it, but they will flourish. They will flourish so much that people will look up to them, admire them, want what they have, and begin to study and learn about what they did. Though these are often called “A Golden Age” it is more the beginning of the end for the potential that society has to offer.
 
As more people learn these methods to get themselves more, and begin to implement these methods… we hit a new problem…. While people working together causes an excess… that excess is only ye large, and not nearly large enough for every person to live to the extent of someone who devoted their lives on capitalizing on that overlooked excess…
 
think of it this way. If one person were to go to a public building’s garbage dumpster to dump their own garbage while no one was looking… while they WOULD be quite a jerk… chances are there will be enough room in that dumpster that it won’t cause many complications. However if many people see the money this person is saving, and decide to do the same thing… it won’t take too long for that dumpster to be filled even before the company deals with their own trash… the same thing happens with the economy.
 
As people see their own survival wealth beginning to disappear, and all the people who are taking the excess for themselves… they begin to panic. They begin to drag in what little wealth they can and hold onto it. They turn their focus onto their own survival. Trying to make sure they will be able to put bread on their table the next day…. the only problem with this though is what I said before…. if we work to try and give to others and make growth for others to enjoy there will be an excess because our strengths multiply on each other. If we focus entirely on trying to protect ourselves, we will fail… because no person can sustain themselves. At this point our economy crumbles.
 
What happens next can go either way…. Sometimes a nation just crumbles. Desperately clinging to what little value they can hold onto. But sometimes something else happens.
 
Desperate times cause people to make desperate choices. There are those who see that they cannot survive alone and thus start bringing people to themselves. New companies start, new ideas flourish. They face adversity together. sweat together. labour together. And slowly but surely they build something new as the juggernauts of the past collapse around them. And then the cycle resets.
 
I am not saying this is the only cause of economic change. Technology, wars, crisis, and more… these all have an effect on the intricate web. But this is a pattern we see time and time again that few people talk about.
 
A company is formed and makes choices that will help people find work. A few generations later that company makes choices to maintain that company. A few generations later people join that company to improve their own resume. Then it all falls apart.
 
What do we do to face this? Honestly, it’s hard to give advice that involves what majority of the world does… because how does one convince majority of the world to give a different direction a try? I am just one voice making one post on observations I have made. I do not know how to fix a system involving billions of independent minds, some of which have no desire to change, others of which are too scared to try… But I think there are some things we can do.
 
Be careful of who you idolize. There are ways to be productive that are not as productive as they look. Aim to help others, and inspire others to help those around them. Pray… a lot…. we really need it more than anything.
 
We cannot control what others around us may do. But we are each of us responsible for the actions we ourselves make. Take this responsibility seriously. Look out for those around you as you can. Be patient with others, be diligent, be deep in prayer

As Strongholds Crumble

It is really a mistake when we view people of this world and think “Wow… That person is so strong.” or “Wow. That person was weak.” Is there any one strong enough that this life can’t tear them down? Is there really anyone out there who isn’t in some way giving life what they believe is their best?
 
Do not consider yourself superior because you can keep a cool head in a crisis, or won’t show your emotions. Do not consider someone inferior because they give into a different weakness than yourself.
 
Is anyone strong enough that God cannot bring them to their knees? Is there anyone too weak for God to raise up above the rest?
 
Even the highest tower of pride we have can be toppled so easily. Even the strongest fortress of confidence we have can be crumbled without a second thought.
 
The thought that Christianity is about us becoming strong, and improving ourselves to take on life’s troubles is wrong. We are human… and no matter what we do and how we improve that is all we will ever be.
 
It is about trusting in God… through the storms, through the sunny days, through the lonely nights…. and believing in Him. Not because of what we get out of it… but because He is God and we have chosen to follow Him.
 
“I believe that our God can save us, but even if he doesn’t, we will follow Him.”

Existence in Absence?

Is absence an existence?
 
We talk about things in our world, like evil, darkness, peace, health, hate… But when we think about it… these things are not things at all… they are simply a state with the absence of other things.
 
An action lacking good (even though it may contain SOME good) is evil.
 
A room lacking light (Even though there might be a little) is dark
 
A time without chaos (even though there might be a bit) is peace
 
A body without disease (though there is always some) is healthy
 
A life without love has hate
 
And yet we treat these as existing things on their own… Good vs Evil. Light vs Darkness. Wishing for peace. Trying to attain good health. What we view as two opposing forces butting heads, when really it is more like a glass of water which has both full and empty.
 
You cannot beat evil by fighting it, any more than swinging a sword at nothing will accomplish anything. You fight evil by filling the world with good. For if the glass is full with good there will be no evil.
 
You do not achieve peace by fighting. You can protect others by fighting yes, and there are times when I believe it is necessary to fight. But realize you do so at the cost of chaos. To attempt to achieve peace by fighting is like attempting to empty a cup by adding to it!
 
You cannot cure hate by hating it. For your cup is already dry, and doing so will only make you bitter. You fight hate by filling it with love… love even for those you hate…. and then even though people still hurt you… you do not hurt yourself because of them.
 
We like to stand up against the things we don’t like in this world. It makes us feel heroic and like we are accomplishing something. Our enemy seems massive and seems to destroy all we care about… but by focusing on it… and our attempts to “Conquer it”, we neglect to build and maintain… which only makes our enemy stronger.
 
Think of what you can give… not what you wish you could take away. It is a losing battle if you don’t!

Stop! Think! Pray

What do we do as Christians?
 
Do we progress? Do we stay the same?
Are we accepting? Or are we firm?
Are we liberal? Or are we conservative?
Do we outreach? Or do we focus on improving ourselves?
Do we take the fresh creativity of the young? Or the experienced wisdom of the old?
Do we go out into the world? Or do we shun it?
 
The more I think about it… the answer is “yes”… to all.. in balance. Because while there are many good things out there…. extremes cause problems.
 
But how does one keep all those things in balance? It’s not something you can make a method for as each situation is different. It is something beyond data crunching and memorization. It requires wisdom, knowledge, reflexes, the knowledge of all variables at every given time and how the infinite possibilities will affect those variables individually…
 
So in other words… yes… it is impossible. But didn’t you become a Christian, because you accepted that this life was something bigger than you could handle?
 
See, Christians aren’t called to “Make their way to God” to “Forge a path to God.” to “Climb their way up to God.” Christians are called to “FOLLOW” God. To trust His paths, and look for His guidance. It’s terrifying in practice, yet very reassuring when you think about it.
 
Yet we don’t do that. Instead we find ourselves simply reacting to our current circumstances. Creating scapegoats to ignore higher responsibility. Trusting our own decisiveness over God’s divine direction.
 
The world goes hot, we go cold. The world goes cold, we go hot. We demand to be the polar opposite when both sides have fallen off the line.
 
“The world makes relationships too open. Let’s make them incredibly awkward and overthought! In fact! Paul says singleness is close to Godliness so let’s make bumperstickers of that!”
 
“The world has gone from skimpy clothing to nudes posted everywhere! Let’s say technology is a plague upon our society distracting us from God’s path and talk about people of different styles behind their back!”
 
“The world is fascinated with witchcraft, bhudism, and yoga! Let’s say all fantasy stories,, wise sayings, and flexible exercises are the devils work!”
 
When you see them written out together like this, they seem even more ridiculous than usual… yet I see so many people flip from one extreme to another at the drop of a hat.
 
There are two ways you can find yourself in moral territory you never meant to arrive at.
 
First is the slow method… Go one step at a time. If you slowly crank up the heat, a frog will boil itself alive before it realizes the water is hot. In the same way, as we slowly justify one step then the next, it is easy to go frighteningly far.
 
“Humans evolved from monkeys. That means our differences must be from different strands of evolution. That must mean some of us evolved differently than others. That must mean some of us are further ahead than others. That means that if we breed the strongest together then we will evolve faster. That means that we should stop the weaker from breeding by sterilizing them. That means we’re spending good medical supplies and money treating lesser humans who we want to die out anyways. That means it would be more efficient to just kill them out now.”
 
That was what happened in WWII (though many countries arrived just before those last two steps) I hope that one is an old enough process to raise less drama, but we arrive at equally disturbing justifications in many areas today.
 
The second method is the one I’ve been talking about today… and that is being so focused on your assumed enemy that you lose focus on where you are yourself.
 
There are three ways to be controlled by something. To love it and do what it wants. To hate it and do what it hates. And to fear it and do whatever it doesn’t do. In all three of those situations you have no control over your life anymore. Your obsession with your quarry is what controls you.
 
So stop reacting! Stop acting like you’re told to act. Stop believing what you’re told to believe. God wants a relationship with YOU. The curtain in the temple was torn. You don’t need a translator anymore!
 
Pray through your opinions and beliefs! (Even this post!) You have a 24/7 open line with the creator of all of creation! Stop looking to News Stations or Christian Magazines about what your opinions should be! Those are meant to aid your thinking, not replace it!

For What Do We Stand?

For if there is no God, then what is there to live for? What reason is there to try? What hope do you have to look forward to? Do you rely on mankind who betray you and hold you only at the value of what you can give them? Do you trust yourself when there is so much you cannot control or see coming? Do you just hide yourself away and try not to think about how meaningless your existence and attempts to be good and decent are in this world?
 
But… If there is God…. then what have you to fear? When life comes crashing down around you. When things don’t work out the way you expect. When threats come towards you at every angle… what do you have to fear?
 
Because it was never your burden to carry before you break. It was never your only hope that society will humor you and provide for you. It was never some sheer bout of luck or chance that some people survive and some people don’t. The God who created this world looks out for you. Cares about you. Has a plan for you so long as you rely on Him.
 
Those who turn to the Christian path for a life of comfort and ease will not last long. One does not follow God’s path because it is easiest… in fact more often than not it is the most terrifying… one follows God’s path because it is Good! And because you will do the Most Good on it!
 
Life is hard and holds many hardships. Many unexpected turns. Many let downs. Many things that will terrify you. You will make mistakes, be betrayed, be abandoned, be ridiculed, be abused, be taken advantage of, be hurt, be scarred, be broken, but so help me you serve a God who refuses to let you be Destroyed!
 
Stand up. No matter what you are going through. Know that this may catch you off guard. That this may make things harder than you thought. But this was never about what YOU could do.
 
You are not alone! You never were. Take comfort, take confidence, and move forward!
 
Amen

Truth and Lies

A proper lie does not simply contradict the truth, it redirects it.
 
If I were to stand in front of you flapping my arms and say “HEY LOOK! I’M FLYING!” That would not be a very effective lie as it very clearly contradicts several truths you believe and see. However if I were to tell you I HAD flown, without explaining the method or time. This would be far more believable as your brain allows you to rationalize this.
 
Every effective lie has some nugget of truth to it. Imagine if you will that truth was in fact a straight road that led a certain direction. Lies would be side paths which slowly curve off from it.
 
Much like the poor and lowly frog who is boiled to death in a pot of water that is slowly heated up. We often do not realize what a lie is, until it is far too late to turn back.
 
Why is this important to know? Well for one thing… to realize that lies don’t always seem nonsensical. In a lot of ways, lies can often seem far more rational than the truth. Think of the problems Sherlock Holmes had to face arguing for the true culprit whilst the police were satisfied with their easily explainable catch. Just because something makes sense to you, does not mean that it is true. For we are humans of limited perspective. We are not omnipotent… even the things we “know” we only assume we know. How long did we believe the sky was blue until we realized that was only an optical illusion? How long did people argue that space and time were eternal until we realized there were edges and even holes to both? How long did we feel this planet was all there was until we saw there were planets further still? Do you honestly think that out of the 7000+ years of recorded history, that NOW we understand everything there is to know? That’s a frighteningly foolish thing to believe. Especially when we don’t even understand everything they knew 7000 years ago!
 
The second reason why this is important to know is that there are always areas of our world that we don’t understand due to our limited perspective and often our reaction to these issues are to ignore them and pretend they don’t exist. Be they spiritual issues, morality issues, purpose issues… Everyone has something that they would rather just deny the existence of than face and discuss… however the issue with this is that just because you don’t deal with an issue enough to face it, doesn’t mean no one else does.
 
I cannot begin to count the amount of people I know of who have walked down very VERY dark paths simply because the people on said paths were far more willing to discuss topics that had made them curious than the people around them. The promise of knowledge has always been one of the most effective temptations out there… possibly even more than the promise of power!
 
So how do we face truth and lies then? Do we take the currently trending method of believing that EVERYONE is wrong in some way or point and therefore EVERYONE is equally right in our wrongness?
 
This is within itself a fairly dangerous belief…
 
In a way, this belief makes the most sense… If every lie holds some resemblance of the truth, then shouldn’t we simply have to search for the semblance of truth in every lie to understand the world?
 
While the theory is sound. It lacks in one very vital area. That area being that it places YOURSELF in the judging seat as to what is truth and what is lie. And as we have covered several times already; We are VERY limited in our perspective to be able to make such a decision.
 
When people are their own judge of what’s right and wrong, we begin to slowly veer off course into highly dangerous territory. There is no one easier to lie to than yourself, for with each successful lie, your blind spot grows larger with your pride.
 
Why has a vengeful nature become so justified? Why has greed and pride become so celebrated? Why has most anything that feels good become such a constitutional right in spite of any future effects? Because as humans… our only judge of what’s right and what’s wrong is ultimately what feels right and what feels wrong… and bad things feel AMAZING!
 
There is a reason why the most reoccuring description of an irredeemable, sinful country in the Bible always ended with “They did what was right in their own eyes.” What has been more dangerous to mankind in the past 7000+ years than self justification??
 
So what do we need then to balance out our search for truth? Well it will seem redundant…. but to FIND truth, we must first HAVE a truth to compare it to. (Kind of like looking for a colour while having paint swatches and samples) And to know what IS truth… in that area we must have faith….
 
Now “Faith” is treated as a scary word in our culture today… but the truth is that EVERYONE has faith to some extent. You have faith this is Malcolm writing this. You have faith your food isn’t overdo or poisoned in spite of all the people it passed who could do that. I have (sometimes unfounded) faith that my computer won’t crash before I finish writing this status! Faith is not something you can live without. It’s something we all have and use daily.
 
So what is your foundation of what is true and what is not? Do you have faith in a God who came to created us and wants to save us? A god we have to earn favour with? Many gods we have to entertain so we might benefit from them? Do you have faith in a person writing posts online? (wait a minute…) A theory someone came up with to support a theory they had about an observation they made? Your own gut sense?
 
We all have faith in SOMETHING from which we decipher what is true and what is not. An evolutionist would look at the Grand Canyon and say “Man. This proves the earth is billions of years old as it would take that long for that tiny trickle to make this huge canyon. A Christian (As well as several other religions) would look at the Grand Canyon and say “Man. This proves there was a global flood. What else could cause such world shaping?” (Fun Fact: A Creation Story, a Flood, and An end are three of the most common reoccurences in religions) But see how a different foundational truth affects how you justify and rationalize the observations you make??
 
Even with a foundational truth however; there are many who fall back into the first example.
 
To accept a foundational truth is to accept the consequences that come with it.
 
I cannot say that I will be there for you every Tuesday night and then proceed to make plans with someone else. I cannot say I serve a God who loves His creation but then say He’s okay with us destroying ourselves or each other as long as we enjoy it. I cannot say that man was a mistake and then say but you have a purpose for being here. Once I start picking and choosing, I no longer have faith in that foundational truth and am once again having faith in my own judgement which we have already deduced is a very dangerous thing to do.
 
But who is right in the end? Does it really matter?
 
Yes… Yes it does. Even if you don’t feel the affects of it right away… truth is truth no matter how much you believe otherwise. Should I eat a poisoned meal I would still die no matter how much I believed it wasn’t poisoned. Should I believe that I could insult others without anyone caring, they would still be hurt. As much as I can believe I can write these posts without many shaking their heads and some their fists, there are going to be people out there like that. Our faith has no effect on reality…. but it has an effect on us DUE to reality! So choose carefully and keep thinking and observing. This world is tricky but amazing at the same time

Beyond the Bible

I find a mistake we often make in the church, is that we focus too much on the Bible alone.

Now I will say this up front. I am NOT discrediting the Bible, saying we should distrust the Bible, Saying the Bible is ‘just good literature’ or any of the other arguments bouncing around that scare Christians into clinging too tightly to the Bible alone. But I do feel we have limited our perspective too much.

Many Christians live their lives as if the Bible is a window into God’s world… the only view of God that we have. People spend lifetimes peering through it. Trying to see it from every angle. Many go so far as to start drawing on the walls around the window trying to extrapolate what they can of the world from that tiny little glimmer…. But in doing this Christians often seem to forget one very important point.

We live in God’s world NOW!

God is still alive. God did not send Jesus His son and then go “Welp! See you all in a few millennia. If you want to know what to do, read my book! Bye!”

One of the biggest things that happened when Jesus came down is we were given access to the Holy Spirit. We can still talk with God. We still live in a world where God is very active in. We still live in a world where God is at work in our lives every day.

So where does the Bible stand then? What makes it so important to read in the first place?

Reality needs constants. Without constants, nothing can be true or false. Without a comparative, you will not be able to know which way to go. A skilled woodworker may be able to tell 2 feet of wood from just looking at it, but that does not mean that a measuring tape is a worthless invention.

The Bible gives us a breakdown. A guideline. A foundation for our beliefs. But a building that is just a foundation, is a fairly worthless structure that will never stand out!

Realize God will never direct you against His word, or in a warped view of His word… but also realize you are meant to live your faith in your own life and this current stage of the world as well.

Don’t lock yourselves in introspection! Jesus IS alive! Don’t you realize what that means? Not WAS alive. Not WILL BE alive. He IS alive! Now! This moment! Right here right now!

So stop looking with in. Look up! Look to him as well!