Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Senator Barack Obama's Church; Part II

Well, I stand by what I said back in January about the conspiracy theory ideas that were rampant about Barack Obama and his church. Now, however, we have crossed beyond conspiracy theories into the realities of what the good senator's pastor has stated loud and proud.

But before I go any further, I want some things to be understood. I don't hold Senator Obama's pastor any more or less culpable than I do any number of the current batch of pastors, of all races, who have done enormous harm to the knowledge of God's true character through their careless statements. For instance, if we declare that God has allowed deadly judgment to fall upon America because of the legality of abortions, haven't we massively muddied the waters? God is killing people because we have killed babies? I hope I don't need to explain the insanity and confusion of that contradiction.

So, Senator Obama's pastor has declared that America did not "blink" when we decided to bomb Japan. Hmmmmmmm....no bible scholar needed for that ignorance of history. President Truman agonized over the stark reality that a land invasion of Japan would likely cost a million lives, many of whom would be civilian. Japan made it abundantly clear that surrender was not an option. At Iwo Jima, our first invasion of Japanese territory, their strategy was to spill as much blood, in as gruesome a manner as possible so that an invasion of their mainland would be considered out of the question. On that small island, human loss on both sides in just a matter of weeks, was three times what we have suffered in Iraq in 5 years. I think Truman's decision was at least a well documented historic "blink".

**(March 29th correction: deaths on both sides of the battle for Iwo Jima were actually higher than my first recollection noted above. Total battle deaths in the approximate 10 weeks of fighting for this tiny island were 27,000! Over 20,000 Japanese soldiers died and 6800 American Marines died in just 8 to 10 weeks. Think about it; we've lost 4000 troops in Iraq in 5 years. Back then we lost 6800 men in a little more than 2 months, and that was considered a victory).**

More concerning to me than that, however, is that Senator Obama's pastor said, "God bless America? No, God d___ America" Why? For our racial sins. (Note: the concept of putting God at the prefix of the "d" word in print is just not in me...I know, I thought it and you probably thought it, but I just can't bring myself to PRINT it).

Again I say, hmmmmmmmmmmm. As evil as racism is, God is no longer in the business of damning anyone, anywhere for any reason. Isaiah 53:11 says that our Father has placed upon His Son the evil of us all, and HE IS SATISFIED.

It is amazing to me how stuck in the Old Testament we are in our need for God to be mad. Especially when we want Him to be mad at stuff we are mad about. The problem is, Jesus fulfilled the demand for Old Testament judgment, fulfilled the law and the prophets AND satisfied God so that now....brace yourselves....this is going to get deep.....

God so loved the world that He sent His only Son...NOT TO JUDGE THE WORLD, but that the world should be saved. This is in an obscure little passage in John 3. Much read and seldom embraced especially when we need God to be mad at someone we don't like. Some TV preachers did not like some folks in New Orleans and a hurricane filled their need for God to look just like them and judge.

As much as we might not like certain behaviors it is illegal to create God in our own image to validate our own bias. God has been forever beautifully painted in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Pastor Bill Johnson of Redding California says, "Only Jesus is perfect theology". Did Jesus ever send a storm on anyone? Did Jesus have a single "damn" in His vocabulary for Rome?

No....but He did have a few, "woes" for strict, uptight, judgmental religious bigots. Why a woe? Woe be to those who distort the image of the Father and frighten sinners away from the possibility of discovering that God is ONLY good.

One last note: Senator Obama has said he did not know his pastor had said these things. If someone who has been one of my sheep for 20 years did not know me any better than that, I would be disappointed, regardless of whether they could quote me word for word or not. But, I will hand to Senator Obama on another note: he refused to disconnect himself from his pastor, agree or disagree. I like that kind of loyality.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Grandbaby #2!

Ginger and I are proud grandparents of yet another perfect child. Libby and Darren had a second little girl last Friday. Her name is Ayla Ghisette. Ayla is an Irish Celtic derivative of my mother's name, Helen. So, since Ayla also has the look of a Native American baby (my mother's heritage) and since my dad was Irish, this child already owns a wonderful place in my heart! For pictures, check out www.myspace.com/pastorrandydean .

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Resurrection Revolution

Matthew 5:38-48 is a mystery passage of epic proportions. Is Jesus suggesting that His followers become perpetual victims incapable of feeling pain? Or, as is His usual mode of instruction, is He pressing us to a higher dimension of Kingdom understanding?

In the middle of all the slapping, suing, slandering mess of modern culture, Jesus has called out for a new kind of human race. So determined is He to have this become a reality, He became the Seed planted in the earth for a birth of a Resurrection Race, a Resurrection Insurrection and a Resurrection Revolution.

His own trial, torture and death penalty became this Message: all forms of insult, offense, abuse, mockery, robbery, injustice, malfeasance, maltreatment, malpractice, malfunction, violation, injury, trauma, and any all effects of any and all wrongdoing are now subject to the Resurrection Revolution! Jesus not only turned His cheek, He supplied every square inch of His body to fully provide a new kind of life for us.

New creation is formed for response to God, not reaction to life. The first breath taken by Adam and Eve was response to God; their eyes flew open and the life’s initiation was full in the face of God. When the last Adam, Christ laid in the tomb, the same breath of God passed through solid rock and, by the Spirit blasted the same life giving air into every molecule of Jesus’ tortured body. From there forward, everything we hope to be is found in response to Him and His Face looking full into ours.

The Revolution has begun; not in clean and pretty church services, but in bloodied streets of sacrificial love. This Revolution crushes the opposition by means of the opposition’s own strength ~ death, in any and all of its hideous forms. Resurrection is an insurrection irrepressible in this world of revenge. It shouts that transcendent love is the final strategy of the Kingdom of God and the greatest unused power of the Church.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Cheeks and Miles to Spare

I am bowed to a transcendent supremacy. The Kingdom of God is within me and profoundly above me. The life I've discovered in this other world has transformed every layer of my existence.

The sting of your hand on my cheek will not determine the priorities of my life. It will not determine my “feelings”. In fact, it may so ignite me in seeing Jesus standing at the right Hand of God that I may turn the other cheek for more inspiration. A slap potentially leads me beyond myself.

We are created for response to God, not reaction to life. The first breath taken by Adam and Eve was response to God. Their eyes flew open and the life's initiation was full in the Face of God. From there forward, everything we hope to be must be found in response to Him and His Face looking into ours.

If I am sued and I live in the Kingdom, I respond to God alone and not in a reaction to the court action. If I am bowed to the transcendent supremacy of my King and the law of the land demands an unfair mile out of me, I'll reach into the energy of Heaven and give a second mile out my supernatural resources. If my life is lived with the breathing of My Father giving me vitality and energy then no matter what injustice pukes at my feet, it will fail to distract me from my response to Heaven's Face.

Jesus' immortal and sometimes maddening Words in Matthew 5 (turn the other cheek, etc.) come to life for me when I conclude them, as He did, with, "You are to be perfect as your Father in Heaven is Perfect." He lives ABOVE it all and I have the massive privilege to join Him in living ABOVE it all, even if blood is dripping off my chin.

Have you ever read John 3 before and beyond verse 16? In verse 13 Jesus said, and this is the RDV (Randy Dean Version); "No one has successfully to date made the journey back and forth into heaven and back to earth except Me. In fact, as you look at Me now...I'm living in both places simultaneously." Stinkin' cool, is what that is. He wants to show us how to live in both places at once. That's really what being born again is all about...Kingdom "Jumpers".

Remember Deacon Stephen in Acts? As he is on earth, being murdered for his faith, he sees the Perfection of Heaven, with Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father. Folks, this isn't some weird lifestyle exclusively reserved for people who wear bath robes and sandals. This is supposed to be genuine everyday Christianity.

We aren't being called to live some meager, white-knuckled "niceness". This is an abundant life with cheeks and miles to spare! IF, and I emphasize, IF you live bowed to this transcendent supremacy; The Kingdom of God.(For more inspiration on this topic read Watchman Nee's book, "Not I But Christ", or visit www.lwc1.mypodcast.com)