Thursday, June 29, 2006

Teleology, Continued

One clarification to the last blog: my challenge to research all those "ologies" came across poorly. It was not meant to be condescending, but meant to challenge. Underneath all my faith based optimism is the fact that 22 years ago I was challenged by men and women of God to look closely at what I said I believed, and it changed my life and my ministry.

I came from all the fear based end-times teaching and when I found all my current "ologies" the Bible suddenly and beautifully made all the spiritual sense I was longing for. When I said, "You've got the time to research" it was to call you out of any of any "hurry up" mentality and spend the quality time you need to find what the Apostle Paul called, "a spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of Him (Christ). And that, my friends, is Christology!

Thank you for visiting this challenging blog!

Got Teleology?

There’s no healing for my hope. I am hopelessly hopeful, incurably whole and beyond help for the view I hold of the God I love and the world He loves. I'm positively giddy about the future and drunk with a Holy Spirit induced high that won't let me go! And yes, I've seen the end-times forecasts on Christian TV. I've heard the gleeful singing about getting ready to fly away from this soon to be incinerated planet.

But my good cheer just will not let me go there with these bell ringers ding-donging doomsday. God has given me a theology with a teleology that has a methodology of an ontology rooted in the very nature of God as revealed in His Christology. It's just that simple. If you need any help on those terms, just do some've got time.

Hmm...research and time; those are commodities that the sleazy salesmen of end-times products won't encourage you to use. Its just too costly to their bottom line. Trust me on this one; their "product-line" is generating a healthy profit that they can not afford to surrender. Bluntly stated, if they admit they are wrong, on any level, it costs them millions of dollars.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality”. In a speech following his acceptance of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1950, William Faulkner said, “I decline to accept the end of man….man will not only endure, but prevail….because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.”

There are voices in the church today who, with unchained reach and unfettered volume, are declaring the opposite. To them, there is a violent "end” of human life based solely on the evil nature of humans. Nuclear holocaust like hail stones from God with a garnish of devinely inspired 15.0 earthquakes......and those are just the appetizers! Their teleology welcomes the thief whose goals are killing, stealing and destroying.

"But pastor! Haven't you read the Book of Revelations?" Nope; but I have read the Revelation of Jesus Christ, if that's what you are talking about. And, my oh my, the optimism I live just rides ever higher. That part, where God says to John, "Come up here and I will show you what must take place after these things" just makes me squeal with delight, like a kid in a school yard recess "free for all" snow ball fight.

When John gets yanked out of his earth-bound funk by the power of the Holy Spirit, he sees a rainbow laced throne, glimmering with jewel like magnificense. That report alone makes me sound like a pessimist. What I'm trying to say is that in the face of the true dangers of the world in which we live, the Church can not afford an anemic teleology that plays into the plans of the enemy of God's creation! If you believe "it all blows up" in the end, then, whether you know it or not, you welcome and possibly subconsciously enjoy every incident that confirms your ultimate and final view of God's purposes. I just read in Ephesians that everything in heaven and earth will be summed up in Christ. Therefore, my teleology is producing a sky-high faith for everyday events that will lead to that summation!

Now, before I close this chapter, lets go back to William Faulkner's quote and speech. It's loaded with a healthy teleology. Google the speech with the quote, "I decline to accept the end of man". His warning 56 years ago was that if authors of any kind of literature stood among and watched the end of man, they would write not of the heart, but of the glands. They would write not of love, but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion.

In my view, even so-called Christian literature (Left Behind come to mind?) slides into this morass and has unwittingly contributed to the pessimistic immoral culture we so despise! So, tell me....Got Teleology? Is it brimming with unarmed truth and unconditional love? Is Christ risen from the dead and victorious over the grave? Or is His resurrection just an anecdotal historical event for your personal future pleasure safely distant from this blue planet turned to ashes from God's fury?


Monday, June 05, 2006

Route 666

Tomorrow will mark (pun intended) a scary day for a few people. June 6, 2006 or, 6-6-06. One Hollywood film company will cash in on the silliness by releasing a movie. Hell, Michigan (a real town!) is having some kind of festival tomorrow complete with people in devil costumes, temporary tattoos for the forehead and right hand and, more than likely, a gathering of "concerned" Christians to protest. It all just makes my spleen hurt.

Aside from the date, in my own experience I've been witness to a dozen or more theories about this much ballyhooed number, "666". Once, there was a giant computer in Brussels. Or was that a large brussel sprout in an old computer? Then, there was the arrival of the bar code on all of our merchandise! Right now I'm holding a book written in 1984 that devoted a chapter to the sinister power of the bar code with a concluding exclamation, "666 is here!". Then there was the Illuminati, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Morgans, the Rothschilds, the Boogeyman! Quickly, someone call Ghostbusters! And that's not even giving mention to Y2K and 88 Reasons the Rapture will happen in 1988. Oh, my throbbing spleen!

I said in my last blog that I made a commitment to God many years ago to be a voice of Truth in the face of these ridiculous fantasies. The end-times conspiracy theorists have held center stage for far too long. They have abused the Bible, the work of the Cross and the Resurrection with impunity. I've offered my own ministry and calling to do whatever I can to call the people of God out of this shallow wading pool and discover an ocean of practical, liveable Truth, which does not require the memorization of a dispensational chart.

The book of Revelation (13:16-18)is the origin of the reference to the number "666". In spite of the current fanciful interpretations, shouldn't we ask ourselves, "What would the first readers of these passages have thought?" How about the "mark" of sweat on Adam's forehead (Genesis 3:19) regarding his disobedience? Or, what about the High Priest of the Old Testament, marked on his forehead with gold letters proclaiming he was "Holy to the Lord"(Exodus 28:36)? Then there is the "mark" of the law of God on the hands and foreheads of those who are blessed and called by God (Dueteronomy 6:6-9) and the warning not to think that the power of our own hands provided our wealth apart from God's blessing (Dueteronomy 8).

The "mark" in Revelation is to be a revealed truth about our calling to be blessed by God and to never fall prey to the temptation of thinking that what you have or what you own or what you achieve is anything apart from the goodness and generousity of God's power to bless! He calls us to the perfection of His devine nature which is represented by the number of perfection, "7". He warns us to never be satisfied with the "almost" good of a number just short of seven, "666". God calls us to His creativity and a freedom from the love of money. He longs to deliver us from the spirit of greed into the beauty of knowing, "it is more blessed to give than to receive".

The "beast" has been driving souls into an early grave for centuries, but Christ has conquered His "Anti-" and offers something else; "The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; but I have come that they may have LIFE and that more abundantly."

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Happy 6/6/06!

Attention all fans of everything that has to do with the:
a. end times
b. book of Revelations (see my earlier blog by this title) and prophecy conspiracy scriptures
c. the mark of the beast and
d. the rapture......
This blog will bother you. It will basically make fun of the aforementioned theories. It will milk the sacred cows of these bothersome intrusions to a mature spirituality that loves and is vitally connected to the Living Christ. OK? Stop now.....c'mon haven't stopped yet.....well, so be it. You've been warned.

Next Tuesday is (spooky music the "ah-ah-ahs" of scary choir voices added)
6-6-06! The anti-christ will begin a tour of the nations with his tatoo shop in tow to offer all of us unsuspecting bobble heads the Mark of the Beast. No one will be able to buy or sell without it and if you refuse it, it will be "off with their bobble head!" Of course, this is just a synopsis of what some folks have been out to sell us but whatever their version is, it comes down to these basics.

It is unmitigated piffle. Tripe, tomfoolery, silliness and fantasy. I shouldn't be so vague. Let me just say it the way I believe it; it is deception. I decided many years ago that the Body of Christ had been drained and beleaguered for too long by these attacks on mature spirituality in Christ and that I was going to be a voice, maybe a voice in the wilderness, but still a voice for One whose character deserves better than all that.

Now that I have your attention, I need to end this short blog. I will come back next Tuesday to finish these thoughts. I know all the arguements, all the proof-texts from the Bible, all the pre, post, mid and "A's". The preterists, the literalists the blah, blah, blah. But I also know the Lord Jesus Christ Who came to seek and to save that which was lost. THE Christ Who trumps every anti-christ spirit that has ever walked this earth.

666? Its all about man's inability to be his own provision, his own perfection without God. What's the answer? The Mark of the Name of God our Father written on our foreheads. It's all about, "Who is your God? Who provides your life, whose Name is written in your mind? Whose love has seized your mind, will and emotions?"

Come back be continued....................