People and Actions

We have a tendency to judge people by their actions, and actions by their people.
 
“This person’s actions offended/hurt/inconvenienced me! They must be an evil, controlling, stuck up person bent on oppressing the minority groups which make up the majority of this world!”
 
“Yes that is a good product, but the person who made it ended up doing ____ action which means that we can’t touch it without saying we support that person’s _____ activities!”
 
How many times a day do we tie actions and people together as an indivisible entity incapable of avoiding influence by the other?
 
The only problem is that people and actions are fairly different things.
 
Actions are static. People are dynamic.
 
Until you do an action, an action does not exist. The intention may exist. The temptation may exist. But the action itself does not exist until it has been done. In the same way, once the action IS done, it cannot be undone… it cannot be justified or corrupted…. the action took place. The effects of said action may last a short or long time… the repercussions of the action may be good or bad… but once the action has happened, it has happened. You may be able to fix the repercussions of an action, but you can never redeem an action as that moment in life has passed.
 
People on the other hand are not so black and white. People are dynamic; always changing. A man who was a tyrant today, may be a saint tomorrow. A person who is a charity giver today, may be a destroyer tomorrow. People are NOT born “Good” or “Evil” like so many like to believe. We are capable of both… and always have been. It is a challenge for anyone to stay on the straight and narrow, and that is why it’s so important to keep on fighting through it! People are not born saints or monsters. We just decide what we want to live for, and how much we’re willing to fight for it.
 
People’s intentions are difficult to read. An actions results are not always their purpose.
 
Nobel desired to create an easier way to get through mountains, and instead created one of the greatest killers known to man. Ben Hur was written to prove God could not exist, yet instead turned the author to God while writing it.
 
As Joseph observed in the Old Testament “What you intended for evil, God intended for good.”
 
Whatever the intentions of our actions may be. Once we perform them, the results of them are out of our hands. We may hurt those we wish to help. We may help those we wish to stop. Life is not so simple that things work out the way we plan.
 
I feel like this distinction is an important one to make. We live in a world that continues to grow more and more lazy and self centered. The more they become this way, the harder it is for people to see each other for more than their actions, and harder for them to make assumptions on anything more than the results their actions had made. People are so much more in depth than something so shallow though. And some of the greatest benefits to God’s plan, could come from the earlier works of tyrants.
 
This world is not, nor has ever been in the control of humanity. Our value and debt are not weighed by our observations and opinions (praise the Lord!) There is truth to every lie. There is a silver lining to every dark cloud. There is a hurting person behind every madman. Live. Fight. Grow

Noticing Miracles

I find a lot of people tend to miss miracles when they happen… “Well that was lucky!” “What a coincidence!” “Things worked out in the end.” These are things I hear a lot of Christians saying these things when really the truth is “God is good!”

But why do we do this? I don’t think it’s because we underestimate God, as much as that we overestimate what a miracle feels like.

When we hear “Miracle” we expect the skies to break open, the impossible to take place, and for our hearts to burst from the sheer awe and wonder that just slapped us in the face!

The truth though is… that much like a crisis… when a miracle takes place, the first thing that strikes you as odd is just how… normal it feels. Something happens that you didn’t expect yes, but you don’t feel like you’ve been transported to some magical new land. You just feel like this was a strange thing that happened on a normal day.

Why does this happen?? Well I think the answer to that is a lot less accusatory than “YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FAITH YOU HEATHENS!” No… though I have seen that given in the past, I think the truth is simply…. that miracles really are a common part of our every day life.

You are made up of bajillions of tiny organisms who only know how to split. Furthermore made up of tiny molecules which are further made up of tiny atoms which are 90% empty space…. We require, and create energy, which while we see the effects of everywhere around us and in us, we have still yet to understand or see what it actually is. We are sitting on a planet spinning SUPER fast, cycling a sun SUPER fast, in a solar system spinning around a giant black hole SUPER fast, in a galaxy moving SUPER fast! With a near limitless number of other planets, solar systems, and galaxies, and yet we don’t hit. They say that from atoms to planets, if the balance was a tiny fragment of a second off we’d all blow to smitherings in a chain of destruction… We create living beings inside the womb of a woman, we create and affect emotions which have physical effects on the body, there are crazy animals, amazing wonders, incredibly seesaw like weather patterns…. this reality is full of miracles every day… so why would one more feel any different?

So why does it feel a bit guilt ridden to not notice a “miracle” when it happens in our life? Or a better question, what are we doing wrong in the first place?

Well first and foremost… the miracle itself is not the amazing thing. The Bible itself says not to chase signs and wonders as anyone can do that. You will not feel amazing for having a miracle happen in your life. Maybe a little thankful, but not the MAD AMOUNTS OF AWE AND WONDER WHICH HUMBLES YOU TO THE GROUND! A miracle does not have that power… the realization of who GAVE that miracle does.

So the answer is quite simple… stop looking for that “feeling of a miracle” to look for if God is acting in your life. Have faith that God IS acting in your life and get to know how much he loves you and looks out for you, so that you’ll recognize when He intercedes… and by the by… He is ALWAYS interceding…. but some times are a bit more obvious than others… when you start living that way, you’ll be surprised how many times you find yourself floored by just how much He intercedes and in what ways.

Theology, Philosophy, and Science

Why do we treat Philosophy and Theology as two separate subjects? Why do we treat science as the opposite of both?
 
Philosophy (Philo=Love Sophy=Wisdom) is simply the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge and existence. It’s asking why does this world work the way it does. Theology is the study of the nature of God and religious belief. Who God is and how we follow Him.
 
Now at first glance these two do seem relatively different. And I am sure in some other religions there are places where this is the case…. but let’s view this in relation to Christianity from which I get the most criticism of my use of the words for.
 
In Christianity, God created the heavens, and the earth, and all that we see and know. He put things into motion and all things both begin and end with Him. To know this is our theology…. but can we really have philosophies separate from this?
 
To truly believe all things were created by God, is to believe that there is no way to truly understand all things nor how they work without first understanding the creator and how He thinks. Therefore to truly delve into philosophy, we must first approach our philosophies from a bases of our theology.
 
Even outside Christianity however; Whatever your ‘God’ is as we have discussed in earlier posts, is whatever is your judge of what is truth and what is false. What is right and what is wrong. What is and what isn’t. So whether your God is God, Allah, Yourself, The cosmic energies, Society, Wisdom, or the bajllion unknown deities of the cosmos…. your philosophies will in some form or manner be affected by your theology.
 
The way I view it is like this:
 
I know my theology. This is how I view reality and my purpose. But from my theology comes the questions I philosophize about seeing what concepts I can draw coming from the basis of the theology I know as true. Once these questions seem to make the most sense, I then run tests and make observations, from which I can see if there is much weight or accuracy to my conclusions, or see if there are observations I had not thought of before.
 
Theology sets the foundation, Philosophy sets direction, Science builds the strength. Though the latter two do not stand on their own. They all intersect. So if you were to ask me if I philosophize, discuss theology, or make scientific discoveries, I could not answer you… or if I did I would just say “yes” because the truth is I do all at once. I philosophize based on the theology that I know is true and unchanging, which I scientifically test to see if it holds any weight.
 
Now do not call a philosopher a theologian, a scientists a philosopher, or any combination of the above as they REALLY do not appreciate it… like ever…. and if there is one point that all of these individuals share equally it is the ability to argue in a round about manner for days until you give into the futility of your quarry, so honestly it hardly seems worth it. But realize the differences and live better yourself! Stand strong in your unchanging faith and build it up so that you can begin to have fun with it and philosophize out further questions. Then don’t be afraid to scientifically look to see how well your concepts hold up… because it goes far faster when you have that theological basis to judge your observations on.

Who Do You Serve in Your Christian Walk?

To my Christian friends: Are you serving the Bible? Are you serving Jesus? Are you serving the Spirit? Are you serving the church? Or are you serving God?

Now I’m sure at this point, some of you are asking “Wait… is this a trick question?” And congrats! It really should be one! But unfortunately, many of the Christians I meet, though they may say otherwise, focus so much one one individual factor of the above, that it affects the rest of their faith.

Those who serve the Bible are possibly one of the most common types in the Western church today (second only to those who serve the church)

If you have read my past statuses, you will know that my opinion right now is that whatever you turn to firstmost for your differentiating between good and evil, as well as for your direction and protection in life, is God to you. So as such, people who serve the Bible, simply are people who rely SOLEY on the Bible for EVERYTHING. If you were to confront them on the fact, they would tell you that they believed Jesus rose from the dead, God cares for us, we need to pray, and everything else the Bible tells them to believe, however their actions and lifestyles betray their deeper feelings as they try to force Bible verses to fit their current day problems. They skip over passages about prophesy, miracles, angels, and demons… or try to rationalize the miracles and warnings against spirits because it’s awkward to them. Though their mouths may claim to believe in the heavens and hell; their lifestyle speaks of an inability to believe in anything they cannot tangibly hold… Much like a Thomas or Saul/Paul when you think of it…

Those who serve Jesus, but not God, tend to focus only on the New Testament, and not the Old. “Red Letter Christians” if you will. The problem with this, is that these two testaments are not mutually exclusive. Much like a parent that gives a bunch of rules to their child until they are old and mature enough to understand the reasons behind them; The Old Testament gives us the context which the New Testament explains. These Christians have a tendency to be strongly supportive of “God’s Love”, yet struggle with His Awestruck Might and Power. To steal the words from CS Lewis: “Of course He’s not safe!! But he is good!”

To serve the Spirit is in many ways the foil to those who serve the Bible as each tend to use the other as a warning… causing them to cling more tightly to their cause in fear of becoming like the other. The Holy Spirit is real. Spiritual Warfare is real. Angels and Demons are real. The end times are real. To turn your back on these things is idiotic, but to fall in love with them is deadly. Even God warned about chasing after miracles as even the demons can create miracles. The biggest danger to chasing miracles over chasing God, is that there are many powers in this world… But God’s is the only power that does not come at a deadly price. Where people serve God, miraculous things WILL happen. Where miraculous things happen, there is not necessarily God! Beware of imitators and false prophets. Beware of making your focus. On miraculous works, not serving God.

Those who serve the church are possibly the largest group in western culture. They are those who fall in love with their church, their denomination, their pastor, their rituals. People who go to church because they have always gone to church. People who look to their pastor for their life goals. People who believe the stronger their church is, the stronger their faith is. People who get totally caught up in denominational debates and distracted from the actual point of their faith. The church is not your faith! The church is a collection of people who share your faith! You do not serve to keep the church going! The church keeps going so you can serve!

So what is the solution to this? Is all of Christianity just a waste with a bunch of different people with different problems? No… the problem with each of these groups is not that they believe different aspects of their faith, are important… because each of these things ARE important! They are critical to the Christian walk! The true problem is that they let these things take PRIORITY in their life… when the one who should take priority is God! And God alone!

To serve God means to read His word to know Him. To Serve God is to pray and build a relationship with Him! To serve God is to know that His son came to die for us and show us God better. To serve God is to support your fellow Christians through this struggling walk called Christianity. All of these aspects are needed in serving God… and we all do tend towards one or another.. but that’s because we were made different…. not so that we could clash or take advantage of each other… but so we could complete each other and together see more of this world than we could alone.

It is not wrong to specialize in one area or another. In spite of attending a Baptist church currently, I am far more prone to spiritual awareness than Biblical knowledge. What is wrong is to think it is alright to throw away the rest because it is more comfortable that way. What is wrong is to start relying on your strength and comfort zone over relying on God to show you His wisdom through your weaknesses. You are made for better than that! Don’t give up so easily!!

How to View Others

You know, being a leader has so much more to do with one’s heart than one’s abilities.

There are those who feel they are the leader because they are the strongest out there… however they lack vision or empathy towards those who are not gifted with natural talent.

In contrast there are those who are swimming in vision. Who have a new dream every day and are excited to get others to follow along! They are great at getting people worked up, but lack the perseverance to see things through, and quickly give over responsibility or give up entirely when things get hard for them.

Then there are those who are just driven to help those around them. They may not be the strongest, or have the most confidence in how to make things happen… but they see the people around them struggling… and they want to do what they can to help. Whether in a management, or just a fellow worker role… these are the people who usually end up being a leader.

In society people tend to focus too much on saving what is worth while to them. Racism, prejudice, discrimination. All these things centre around the concept of believing people to be beneath equal treatment due to who they are or what they can and cannot do.

“All men are created equal”… How often do we use that phrase to believe “All people are created the same”? But… that’s not the case. There are tons of things that seem so simple for other people that I can never keep up with myself. At the same time there are things that I can see or do that others seem completely blind to frustratingly enough.

We are not created identical…. but should your treatment of other people be based on what they can do for you? Or as the classic selfishness justification term goes… “What they can do for ‘Society’?”

Our treatment of others should not be based on if they live up to our standards… but on our realization of who we are. How we all are nothing more than weak souls who are struggling as best we can against this monster called life.

Realize we are all fighting together. Don’t judge one person because you deem them to not be giving as much as you in this fight against life! If you have the time to judge them, then you clearly aren’t fighting hard enough to begin with!

Judge others’ lives not as what they are worth to you, but as in what you can give to them! This world is crazy, and we need everyone to get through it!

Who Am I?

BUT! While I’ve opened up the can of dimensional worms… I’ll take the time to break into another controversial subject that tends to make my brain hurt more…. Identity…. Just who on earth are we??? What are we??

“Our identity is found in God! We are His children!” Okay yes. I know that answer. Good for you. Have a cookie. I get that response quite a lot but that is not really what I was getting to. For even in the body of God we are designed to be unique from each other in order to fulfill the broad scope needed. We are not meant to run independently but together, relying on each others’ strengths to fulfill our weaknesses. But then what exactly makes our identities?

“We are the chemicals in our bodies!” “We are the results of what those in our pasts have scarred us to be!” “We are creatures of instincts who have been tarnished by delusions of culture and society!” These are more common ones I hear the world come up with. However in this case I find the answers to be surprisingly lacking… or even in some cases saying “The sun gets hot by ice cream melting faster!”

I look at myself, and honestly… who am I? A guy who thinks too much? That is true. Someone who follows God? Well… ya I try… Someone who was outcast as a freak of nature and a monster? That is true as well…

We say “Your past does not define you!” but to tell you honestly it does affect you quite a lot. No matter where I go in life, or what I become, I will always have that darkness within me. There are memories of what I’ve done, images of what I’ve seen, doors which I had opened which can never be closed again.

I have had many a Christian tell me “Well that’s because your faith isn’t strong enough! Don’t you know God wipes you clean?” But I don’t think they quite understand what wiped clean means. I am NOT the person who I was. Nor do I ever hope to be again. But does that mean I never could? No… I am quite aware of what I am capable of… I am quite aware of how tempting it is to realize what I could accomplish if I went back to it. But I CHOOSE to follow God. My past has changed who I am, but I am free from it. Free to follow the new path God has set before me.

In the same way… Are our identities based on our knowledge and memories? It’s true that I was a much different person when I was a lot more naive. A lot more outgoing, adventuresome…. actually quite the idiot (maybe that part didn’t change) but at least I was an honest idiot 😛

But while the people who I have met in life, and the things I have learned have changed me…. can I say that THAT is what my identity is? ….No not really… because even though I couldn’t control what I learned or experienced in life… I could control how I reacted to it. And on top of that, part of who I was… something at my core… affected the way I would react.

I see it all the time in people that I meet. I meet people who are naive, people who are hurt, people who are driven, people who are hiding. There are the things they do. There are the things they try to do. There are the things they never want to do again. But at the same time there is always something else… something deeper…. a core that it is all built upon.

You could send 100 people through the exact same life trial, but there would be a variety of responses to how they reacted to it… because at their core they are different. Why do some people stand up to trials and some shirk away? Why do some people feel entitled while others just figure that is life? There are far too many variables to decide what causes this and what doesn’t….. but this I will say… no matter how much someone changes, reacts, grows, breaks, or more…. there is always SOMETHING about them that will always remain themselves.

Identity is deep… it’s depth goes far beyond what I can seem to comprehend. But I think (especially now) it is important to at least think about. How many world issues now a days rely on identity. The idea of claiming your identity, protecting your identity, not having your identity abused, knowing what you are able to do, not able to do. Where you need to grow, where you need to let go. Identity is a massive topic and I can’t even scratch the surface…. I do believe it goes far beyond our bodies and into our very souls.

This world says your body controls your identity… I say it’s the reverse. While I’m sure a person in pain may be grumpier or less likely to take risky moves than a person not in pain (I can attest) Or someone who can’t think clearly may not use their head as much as someone who can’t NOT think… I do believe there is a HUGE area that people overlook…. the power our identity has over our bodies themselves…. Sugar pills… the placebo effect…. What we believe, what we strive for, what we see ourselves as… our bodies to some extent begin to react to that.

Now I mean there is a limit… believe me… I hit it and it wasn’t pretty…. But at the same time, I think this has a bigger effect on our world than we give it credit for

Timey Wimey Stuff

What is time? Does it really matter to know?

If we think about it there have been many individual arguments which churches and scholars have split on claiming to be unique and independent issues which really all boil down to this one specific question.

There are those who believe time to be something that has an end, yet that we are all stuck in. Afterall, it is the reality we have grown up in so why would there be anything else?

Because of this belief, they tell of how our actions have already been decided, which to them may be a great encouragement, yet to others is considered a grand tragedy. What happened to our free will? Why even try in life if all your life has been predetermined for you?

To me this argument has never made sense. Partially for why it is considered to be so foundational to our beliefs, but also because it seems like two separate arguments which have been combined into one.

Knowing the end, and controlling the end are not in themselves the same thing. In fact, orchestrating the end, and controlling the players is also not the same thing.

God knows how the world will end. He knows WHEN it will end, WHO will be there in the end, the choices you make even before you make them. So what? Are your choices then meaningless? NO! Just because He knows how your struggle will end, does not mean there is no point to your struggle. Just because in the end the world will go to pot doesn’t mean we should not fight to make it better. Just because God already knows who will go to heaven and who will not does not mean your struggles have no place!

The example I like to use is reading a comic strip (Because I like comics!) We look at a comic strip in 3-8 panels. We see the entire timeline of the comic sitting there before us. We know how the comic will end because we are outside of that timeline. Does that mean the character in panel 1 should not struggle to move forward until he reaches the final panel? NO! His struggle and our observation are not tied together at all!

Time is a dimension. This much has been brought up in religion and science alike. Yet our opinion of “dimensions” tends to differ from what they truly are.

We tend to view dimensions as “the multiverse”. A series of mirrored worlds which run parallel to each other, which in theory could be jumped between, yet should not interact with each other. When in truth, a dimension is far simpler than that!

What is a difference between 2D and 3D? Did you realize the D stands for dimension? That’s because a new dimension is simply adding a new direction to the dimension that the previous could not go to.

A stick figure in the 2D world could never comprehend the z axis of the 3D world, while you and I in the 3D world can interfere with the 2D world (though not fit our entirety within it) When we view it this way we realize that it actually is pretty similar to other things we see in the bible.

This world is temporary. Time has an end. Our souls will live on. God is outside it all. The more I think about it, the more I ponder a slightly out there observation.

I wonder what if there are other dimensions? No not the sci fi parallel dimension theory, but ACTUAL dimensions where each higher number can interact with the lesser one yet not fit within entirely. I would in fact say there can be a good argument made to there being at least 7 if not more.

Of course there are the simple ones we know of. 1st dimension is a dot, 2nd dimension is flat, 3rd dimension is our material world as we know and observe it… I would then argue that the 4th dimension is our souls. Since they will apparently be what goes beyond our bodies and our world. Since they are what are most affected by the spiritual world, by emotions, by our beliefs.

5th dimension I would say are angels and demons, since every person who has seen either has been struck down by either insanity or or just the awe struck wonder as if their strength had left them.

6th dimension I would say is time. Why do I rank it so high at this point? Because while the Bible says our souls and the angels and demons etc all will go beyond time, it also states that we are all currently bound to time. Even the devil appears to be bound TO time since it is not till the end when his punishment will come. Angels as well, being messengers of God, have brought forth prophesies, but were simply delivering messages FROM God, not showing that they knew the future themselves. It is for this reason that I would put time at the 6th.

At which point we get to the 7th (though as I said there could be more so perhaps it would be better just to call it “the top”) This would be where God is. Outside of time. The judge of right and wrong. The creator of all things. The knower of all things.

I won’t be so pompous as to say that I know better than anyone else who says anything against this theory… as in the end it really is just a theory. I will just say that I’ve yet to hear an argument that stood well against it, and that it really does put a lot of pointless arguments to rest.

In the end, whether you believe in an ironclad destiny, or a responsibility driven free will… I don’t think that really is the most important question to be asking…. because quite honestly I think the answer is “We can’t really understand it ourselves.” I mean it’s beyond ourselves with our bodies and most our senses in the 3rd dimension and spirits in the 4th (provided I am right.) Yeesh… even if I’m wrong it still doesn’t change this is something we really just don’t get…. But so what? Whether you believe God controlled what end you have, or will be helping you come to the result He knows you’ll reach… does it really change the fact that you have to live your life chasing after Him to the best of your abilities?? If you think it does I think THAT is a greater crisis than how you interpret things beyond you! God told us to follow Him! So do it!