Thursday, November 29, 2007

a good example, continued

(i started this to simply sum up and tie ends together, but it ended up being something else entirely. so i decided to make it a post instead of just another comment. hopefully you'll take the time to read it. it stands as a response to the last 3 comments from the previous post. upon completion it made the title of "a good example" more relevant and nuanced than upon original intention. hmmmm.)

wendy - those who have tasted and fallen away, manipulative leaders, love of money and evil roots... things that have definitely taken over the mainstream of our global society. something i definitely want to investigate and discuss further, if any are willing, to take a good hard look at our world and what is happening in it all over. which is one reason i am thankful to have both hemispheres represented here. would be nice to get an asian or african perspective thrown in as well. anyone know anyone in those places who enjoys questioning and studying the scriptures in a most unorthodox way, who is not offended to hear viewpoints that differ from their own, and who has an internet connection?

tess - thank you for coming back and addressing my original question. we kind of spiraled off.

"I think the Pharisees were following laws for their own self advancement, not out of a love for the God who made the law."
not out of a true heart love, i would agree. but they were doing it out of a heart for obedience to god as well as self-advancement. which is where the wicket, for me, gets sticky. the topic of "the religion of the pharisees" and the many, many parallels to modern american evangelical christianity is a discussion all its own so i won't delve here. but i will ask, "isn't a heart set on being obedient to god, even for your own personal advancement in religion as well as resurrection, what these people were taught it meant to love god?" i believe it was the pharisees' heart desire to be obedient to god, protect his word, and persecute all those who taught anything different. which is what they were taught by the law. i believe their desire was to never be destroyed or exiled again and so they set out to make absolutely sure that it never happened again by paying extreme attention to the letter of the law.

which, yet again, is what god asked of them back in deuteronomy. in fact, in deuteronomy alone there are 5 separate admonitions to "obey all these laws" so that they may prosper. (personal advancement!) so it is my stance that obeying the law for personal advancement is what they were commanded to do, according to their limited understanding. we know now that this understanding was incorrect, but to be fair, and i think the very heart of my question here, "how were they to know any better?"

when such a priority was given to obeying and performing the rituals, how were they to break free from the pattern?

to paraphrase you, things got hairy because jesus was telling them that their rituals were not enough, and in many cases downright wrong. yet these rituals had been formed and handed down as a way of pleasing god and never breaking his law. which is something god commanded of them. so, in their minds, jesus was telling them to disobey god. and there's only one thing you do with a heretic who misleads so many people on a grand scale like that.

"The pharisees lacked the ability to love God more than they loved themselves."
precisely my point. they lacked the ability. they didn't have a conception of it. because, in my mind, it almost seems as if god shaped them to be that type of people, at that moment in history, in order to accomplish his work. which, in my mind again, seems as if he set them up. by emphasising over and over again that he wanted them to be a people who keep the entire law without fail, without prejudice, and without mercy. and that they should get rid of those who do not follow accordingly before they "lead you astray."

which makes it an amazing and quite well thought out plan, if it happened on purpose like that. you just don't think of god as being the type to set people up like that to be the scapegoats. that's the disturbing part for me. because i very much feel like i got set up. and that may be something no one else here can relate to. feeling like you got set up for a beat down by following god and doing what he asked of you. yet, scripture is littered with examples of people, in my mind, who got beat down by doing what they thought in their hearts was what god wanted them to do. jesus would be among this group.

(all i will say about A&S here is that many people since have sold property or any number of things and only given a portion of it to the church instead of the whole amount and yet they live. in fact, i'm sure it happens on almost a daily basis. weird.)

"Jesus never spoke a word against what was written in the law." i suppose that would all depend on what you would consider "against". in fact, on more than one occasion, jesus amends or downright corrects the law. for example, Matt.19:8-9. jesus says that moses permitted divorce. (something written in the law) he then says that it really isn't permissible unless adultery is involved. thereby nullifying, or correcting, or speaking "against" the law.
(as an interesting side note, jesus always attributes the law to moses and not god. on only one occasion does jesus attribute the law to god and that was in the case of one of the ten commandments.Matt.15:5-6, Mk.7:11-13.)

"However, if we still followed orthodox jewish costums i don't think Jesus would mind as long as we did it out of love for him."
i agree with this. yet, in my opinion, observing laws and traditions is a very slippery slope as the pharisees and evangelical christians have found out the hard way.

patti! thanks for finding your way over, and more than anything, thank you for sharing your thoughts. to commemorate the occasion i have prepared a bundt cake. my first try, but i think it turned out rather well. feel free to have some.

thank you so very much for listening and sharing. it is all too rare to find someone who will wait and listen for the spirit. or even knows how to do that. (which, yet again, is another discussion for another time) the words you shared are words of life. and they also hit on very important things for me as well.

"because I AM"- the only real answer moses and job received for having to endure, or preparing to endure, all manner of hardships for following god. and a strange answer it is at that. instead of trying to explain it to us, god simply says "you don't need to know."

that doesn't, however, stop me from wondering and asking. and in fact, i think is a very healthy process to first of all admit to myself that i have these questions, and then be willing and able to ask them and discuss them freely.

"He was saying if you know my Father, and that I am from Him (and I am Him) than you would know that I am good and trustworthy, and you would come to Me."
one of my great confusions. trying to understand the seeming discrepencies between the character that is clearly and consistantly displayed in jesus and the charachter that is displayed somewhat erratically in jehovah in the OT. trying to understand and come to terms with it.

because i am healing from some pretty serious wounds. in a way in which the only people i feel as though i've been able to relate to on this have been dead for thousands of years. i actually get isaiah, jeremiah, ezekiel, the apostles, and so on and so forth. i understand god asking you to do outlandish, even outrageous and seemingly blasphemous things that will most certainly catch the attention of those in your religious circle. but more than catch their attention, incite them towards a violent heart. all the while, onlookers think that you're absolutely out of your mind. but you follow nonetheless only to be beat down and left for dead on the outskirts of town. the reward of the faithful in this world. time and time again this scenario has been played out, and i feel as though i was caught up in one such scenario and know not why.

for me to be an example? an example of what? radical obedience? willingness to be lead anywhere, even to slaughter? to show the evils that have crept in to evangelicalized religion on the whole? to be an example of what will happen if you read the bible for yourself and then stand up for what you believe to be truth? to help show young people how the religion of the pharisees has become, in many very real ways, the religion of evangelical christianity and its leaders?

and if any of these are the case, did any of the witnesses even notice these things? how many of them were paying attention? how many of them can handle that the truth of the matter was swept under the rug and they were fed lies by the leaders they trust so much? and that they were fed these lies so that the leaders could appear righteous while, in their minds, "be obedient to god, protect his word, and persecute him who taught anything different." sound familiar?

was it all for nothing? right now, it seems so. except for the one fact that i am now free. i am free from traditional and doctrinal restraints that would seek to hold me back from going anywhere and everywhere with the good news of grace.

one reason i believe the lord silenced you on the point of "raw language". although it may not be a freedom you have, it is certainly well within the boundaries of conscience he has given me, as well as it being the simple and plain language of the world i find myself sent to. and to nitpick over something so trivial as groupings of consonants and vowels is so much less important, and would only cause division. rather than the course you have chosen. to be able to set aside such silly things and chat about the great and unsearchable things. i applaud and thank you for being obedient in this.

anyway, thanks again for stopping by. feel free to come around and join in anytime. i can use all of the advice, perspective, and tempering i can get.

32 comments:

Nate said...

Well good thing I had my Lemon-Lime Kool Aid and a sandwich when I sat dow to do the blogging. By the time I was done with the post, I had even gone for desert of Ole and Lena fortune cookies brought by Gayle Rose from Wisconsin. But I am glad of the continued debate.

OOOHHH yes you will consider me the conspiracy theorist when I throw this one at you.

God has had a plan all along, and that plan has key elements to it. To bring those key elements about, God has called out ones that will dot the appointed thing at the appropriate time. Yes it is that big of a plan. What is the appropriate time? When the lesson will have the greatest effect. For example, either the twelve disciples were the stupidest humans on the face of the planet, or God suspended their belief for the greatest effect. They had seen all of the miracles that Jesus had done, yet how many of them truly believed that he was the son of God? NONE OF THEM. Not until he revealed himself after his death.How many understood what the Holy Spirit was, even though God allowed them to heal? None knew the true power until the day of pentecost when the spirit moved them to teach to the masses. All of it was for effect to ensure that us mear humans would carry on afterward.

What are some of the hallmarks of God setting the stage a little. Getting the blind obedience of the Religious sect. Ishmael and Isaac fighting as the first and second born sons of the Father of the covenant. They I believe will be the instruments of the end times. The pharisees and sagucees the instruments of the middle time. Making all of these things happen at the right time. What about the conversion of the Pope at that time? 300 years to establish a faith in the one area of the world, Europe, that would reach out to conquer the world in his name and spread the word of him along with them over the next 1300 years? Oh yeah, he is a great architect of the plan. Can't wait to see what else he comes up with.

Tessa, I loved your thoughts on the pharisees and the rest of your last dissertation.

And finally Jon, about this getting kicked out of church thing. You aren't the first, and you won't be the last. Call Grandpa and see what it was like for him to get kicked out of church. Swap some stories and them read a book called. "So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore." I think it will help you. Right up the alley you are walking in right now. it got sent anonimously to me from some people I have never heard of before. I will contact you let you know about it. Talk about blind obedience. God says, "Just send this book to this guy in Georgia please," and they do. It is awesome.

Sorry, I should have made a sandwich for you too.

Patti Blount said...

Hi Jon-You said you needed some advice, perspective and tempering. How about some encouragement? Alright, ready? This is it-

GOD IS GOOD AND IS TRUSTWORTHY WITH THE CARE OF YOUR LIFE!! YOU ARE THE SHEEP OF HIS PASTURE!!

I understand you have the brain thing, and sometimes it won't stop going. I too have to pray sometimes and ask the Lord to help my brain stop from thinking during the night when I wake up. You're probably just really smart. I believe, though, God doesn't want us to be plagued with these things if it interferes with the peace and rest He offers. I know I have digressed greatly from your original topics of concern.

Bless you, Jon. Patti

Valorosa said...

The thing about divorce ... in context, I think Jesus was upping the ante on those questioning him.
The OT tells us that God hated divorce but tolerated it.

Probably sparing many women's lives.

Romans 9, 10 and 11 sum up what you are talking about.
These verses end with this ...

WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD,OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR?

WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN?

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever.
Amen.

jON said...

you know you're supposed to bring enough for everybody. i know you know because i saw you stuffing your face with bundt cake earlier.

sometimes i just need to yell at the walls instead of passive agressively taking it out on my wife and kids. one of the reasons i like this room. i am free to say anything here. to get things out of my head and into the light.

growing up in the church culture has brought with it more baggage than i ever imagined. i am really, only now, beginning to see how deeply laid many of the lines of control were. lines that didn't serve to connect me to god, but only to "keep me in line." yet, constantly, the same spirit i would worship in service on sunday mornings would also speak to me in the every day. and also the forsaken and taboo. he was always beckoning me out of line.

i finally decided to step out of line and i have never been more grateful at finally saying yes to the spirit and following her voice more than that of any human. and i find myself extremely concerned. and dumbfounded. and confused.

with this particular question, i don't think i'm really questioning god's goodness. although, that is how the complex emotion manifests itself initially. when i encounter passages like this now, i feel like i have to reevaluate my entire concept of god. not in a bad way, but in a matter of fact way. going along very well with nate's post of fluidity and pride. when i read scripture now, i can only read one or two chapters every couple of weeks because they aaffect me this depply. even if there are some tinges of darkness that get fleshed out, i am glad that scripture can have that kind of unfettered, unapologetic, raw, honest, and uncompromising hold on my heart and mind and actions.

but ultimately, and in the end, i guess its the same as with any relationship. everyone has a past. and you need to get over it and realize that everyone does things they regret. even god has had his regrets. the bible tells us so.

i have no doubt that god is good. he has cared for us in so many astounding ways, i can't number them all. his mercies and his glories are overflowing.

but for some reason, i just can't shake the feeling like something has gone wrong. that something has either been lost or missed. and we need to find it. like a pearl of great price to be eagerly sought. like a treasure in a field. that's why i don't pray to stop thinking about it. i want to think about it. thinking about it, as much as it upheaves and unravels my world, is the only thing that brings me peace. ignoring it tears my inner man to shreds as it burns within my bones like fire. i cannot contain it.

we are supposed to be a very different bunch, aren't we? the ones who partake of grace? the called out ones? seriously.

aren't we supposed to be able to heal any sickness or infirmity? aren't we supposed to be able to walk into a starving village with a loaf of bread and a fish and give them enough to eat for a week?

why do i feel strangely as if the spirit is absent from her bride?

i have parents and grandparents who are the real deal. i have heard the stories and even witnessed some things myself. but major, real major type healings and miracles seem to be largely absent from the mainline churches and belief structures ALL across this country. not only that, but there seem to be very few who wait on the lord and listen for his spirit. or even know that it means more than following "guidelines for godly living consistant with a biblical worldview."

am i crazy? i know there are exceptions. i know that the lord "reserves for himself" a remnant of people always. we're out there. but the overwhelming power that was around in the early days seems to be largely absent from my world and the world of everyone around me.

does anyone understand what i hitting at? my words are failing me at the moment. i feel like i'm not explaining myself very well.

anyone?

Patti Blount said...

I hear you, Jon. No, I don't think you are crazy. I believe many have observed and felt those same things, such as why isn't all those miracles and healings happening today? Many have such zeal for signs and wonders that, I believe, they have opened themselves up to "lying signs and wonders" The devil is more than happy to answer our fleshly desires, if we haven't found first Christ as our sufficiency. I've know groups who it appears that communion (and I don't mean eating a wafer and drinking from a little cup) with the Lord was boring or that He wasn't enough. I don't know if they ever really experienced Him, though, because if they had, He would have been more than enough, continually imparting life giving water into our souls. I have personally drank of Him, but not continuously because He has not yet flushed my system of my former ways of operation which were actually death to me, but felt like life. But I know that He is enough, and I'm not going to go running after signs, wonders, etc. even though I see and agree that He desires His church to be having and using all His gifts. I frankly believe He has pulled the plug on them for awhile, so as to have His church know Him. It is from this first foundational place that all that is genuinely from Him will flow, for it will be He, Himself, flowing out of us manifesting His power through the gifts, and not us, lest any man should boast, so to speak. The word for the day is "come to Me, come to Me. You are drinking from broken cisterns. The water may satisfy temporarily, but it is draining out the bottom of the vessel." Like He said to the woman at the well, "I have water you know nothing about," and yet He bids us come, even those of us who have been with Him for awhile, because, we too, have attempted to get filled in everyway but to learn what it means to "eat of Him and drink of Him." As you know, on my blog we ask the Lord questions and wait on Him to answer them, believing that He will show us great and unsearchable things. I believe that's in Jeremiah. Anyway, that will be the next question to Him starting Monday-What Lord does it mean to eat of You? To drink of You? So, join us on Monday, and let's see what He says. He has given me a very small glimpse of that, but there is so much more to it. I believe He wants us to understand that, because without that in our lives, everything is stale, stagnant water. Sorry, I rambled on and on. I didn't mean to take your blog hostage. It just came out. Patti.

faintnot said...

Good morning my dear friend. I have been following the conversation. Far be it from me to be able to calm all the noise...I am unable to calm my own at times.
Concerning healing and the gifts- yes, I agree with you they should be functioning and they are in parts of the world where people are not afraid to believe God at His word. I am, of late, of the opinion that if we would just set aside our opinions of eachother (church today) and truly get 'out there' and 'do' what Jesus said to do- (as you go and preach the Gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, etc...Matthew)we would be doing what we are longing for the 'church' to do. O Jon, don't you see, we are wasting time being confused by what others have failed in...

I just read the first four chapters of Romans in 'the Message' and it blessed my socks off. It's not about what we do for God; it is about accepting and embracing what God has done for us. Are we going to take Him at His word? if so then the promises of the Lord are yes and amen to us. If not, if we refuse to accept Him on His terms then we forfeit those promises and have to live with what we can come up with on our own which is so lacking...
Anyway, God's character is very consistent throughout the Bible. His standards are high, he knows we couldn't live up to them, He made a way for us to be reconciled to Him, it is a gift, we cannot earn it, which leaves us with a couple of options:

take the gift, open it up and put it on, or leave it unopened on the table and fill ourselves up with some other stuff that doesn't quite fit.
Thanks for your openess, I hope I do not sound like a religious know-it-all to you...I am truly interested in your outcome. Praying for you to be at rest inside...Linda

Valorosa said...

Yep gotcha, Jon ... I'm stymied as well ... and it's very frustrating and makes me sad.

Susan said...

Getting back to one of your original questions, Jon, I think the Pharisees should have known better, Jesus certainly thought so.

Mark 7:6-7 He (Jesus) replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."

God has always been interested in a heart relationship with His people, obeying the law was therefore an outside sign of an inward relationship. The Pharisees were only interested in outward signs which they could use to measure their own spirituality and use against those people who didn't measure up.

Patti Blount said...

I'm convinced of it-All this frustration, stymy-ness, and feelings of being lost is normal fare for those who Christ is drawing closer and closer to Him. We are His building, and there is a time to tear down (all we've been programmed with that is not of Him) and a time to build up. (replacing the false with the true)
It's just that there was a feeling of security when we were told how to see things, and how to do things, and how to generally "live the Christian life." They forgot one thing, though. They couldn't teach us what only God can show us. And so He led us outside the city gate, to suffer with Him, and in that suffering we are being made into His image. Instead of "how to live the Christian life", He calls us to let Him conform us to His image, so His life will be ours. But, oh, what a process. If your flesh is not suffering, something is wrong. But it's the good suffering, that is actually being imprinted with His nature, and yet all this was made possible at the cross-life out of death. It's being taught (albeit subliminally) that we can be "good Christians" without actually dying to ourselves, and so we had to remove ourselves from that teaching to get alone with Him and hear His voice. "There will come a time when no man will teach you." Being put in that position is very hard, because He exposes our ugly hearts and there is alot of fleshly restlessness involved coupled with temptation to return to our vomit, but then He's there to give us a heart of flesh. So, since we've come out of the "comforts" of the "false security" of thinking we know all the answers, it is natural and spiritually necessary to feel all the confusion you feel, but it's a good place for He is bringing us into a land of milk and honey; the land of life giving water in Him.

jON said...

i know i am not alone in thinking this, but i think something signifigant is happening. unfortunately, in my state of insignifigance, on a cosmic scale, i have no idea what it is...exactly.

but i see things. not all of these things happened to everyone here. but these are simply representative of patterns i have seen played out in many different lives that intersect here.

1. - this strange conincidental timing of many people being stabbed in their consciences about their participation in organized churches, almost simultaneously. of course i only use words like coincidence. i believe it is the spirit of god that shouted, all at once, swiftly and suddenly, "GET OUT! GET OUT NOW! DON'T STAY HERE! GO! GO! GO!"

and through many strange circumstances, those of us who couldn't quite believe that the spirit of god was actually telling us to leave "church", were ripped out in violent and painful fashion.

all this in order to find the church we have been seeking since day one of falling in love with one so beautiful. a place where she is worshipped in all of her beauty in spirit and in truth. a place where she is worshipped by those madly in love with her. and the worshippers are unashamed of such unfettered joy and peace and love.

2. - i find it also signifigant that many of us have now found a place for us to meet together and lick our wounds. to be salt and light to each other as well as a soothing balm. and now, having healed in a great fashion over the course of the past 2-4 years, things seem as if they are beginning to gel into a cohesive something.

the more i think about it, and the more wonderful this conversation gets, the more i believe that one of the many ways this church can be useful is being able to find others who have been looking for a fully functional reality such as the one we are involved in here. a place where the world's rules are simply observed as a means of not going to prison. but that the true rules, the ones written on our individual hearts, are the laws truly followed.

and we listen to, and do not judge, and don't presume to know, the hearts of others.

3. - but more amazing is how this tiny community is GLOBAL. the fact that we now find ourselves in a place where we can have free conversation of any idea without judgement... without fear. then, globally, put into ACTION the things that begin to change in us from our meetings here. and on and on and on and on like that.

i think that is more what the original church was like and one of the reasons it grew so fast. these people weren't selling ideas or doctrines or even beliefs.

the servants could slide up to you on the street, pull you aside, open up their trenchcoats and say, "hey man, check this out..." and they could actually show you a completely functioning alternate reality that you could live in right now if you wanted to.

i believe we are church here. i have absolute faith that we are a legitimate part of the body. and i believe we are a church that can truly have a global impact, if we are willing to suffer for it. many of us were force-fed a small taste of it.

are we willing to continue? are we willing to continue to run faster after this spirit who called us this far? even though it lead us through such painful endeavors?

yes. i cannot answer for anyone else, but i am finally ready to say yes. and i do not take my own answer lightly. yet to see the kingdom birthed into our world, right now, i would be willing to endure what the lord gives me the strength to endure.

much love.

jON said...

(please tread lightly if you visit the link. i don't really know this woman at all, so i don't want her to be freaked out by a bunch of strangers traipsing their way through her life. yet, if you feel lead, far be it from me to limit your freedoms.)

i think this is a good example of ways in which we can minister to strangers around here. it's just one example, of course.

the possibilities are as limitless as the one coming up with them.

jON said...

o, and patti. i call it word vomit. i do it to other people's blogs all the time. i always apologize and try to clean up after myself, but i understand. it happens.

no worries...

Nate said...

The blogosphere is my church too. It is very real, and very valuable.

Great relationships and great love. It si the best church I have ever been to.

Patti Blount said...

Yes, it seems like I am getting dependent on expressing myself through this blog too. But then I wonder, is that good? Are we such a bunch of misfits or have so many barriers in us that all we can relate to is unseen people through words? Are we really touching hearts this way? Is cyberchurch fantasy or reality? Is this God's provision for us or does He want us to learn to be flesh and blood with people in our world, even if it hurts or exposes our weaknesses? You may not have these questions, but I do, and they are probably only ones God can answer for me, but I am willing to hear you all on this also; you are the Body of Christ, and IT IS SAFE because I can't see your faces or hear your tones-just read black words on a white background. I don't want to be enamored at the Emerald City from afar, only to find out upon entering the castle that there is a man behind the curtain making things appear a certain way, then realizing that there really is NO PLACE LIKE HOME, and that I was just not embracing it or that I was afraid of real relationships and ran from it. O.K. guys be easy. I am exposing some of my personal thoughts to you. What do you think about all this?
Yes, and I guess I am vomiting here, Jon. So, leave me in my vomit or help me clean it up. It's up to you.

Nate said...

Patti I had a lot of the same thoughts as you. How can this be real. Well, I give love and support here better than I do in the RL, but it is still felt and appreciated. You really can feel prayers. Also, I have not found that rejection and judgement that I have seen in RL. I open my self up, and no one has stomeped on me yet.

I guess the concept of cyber church is just as distressing as when we begin to understand that we do not have to go to building to have church. It is all about the love, and treating one another as Jesus would treat us.

jON said...

as always, i cannot speak to anyone's else's experiences, and i know they are varied.

but i can speak to all of the positive things that have come into my world having been involved in community in the blogosphere. the number one thing it changed for the better is my ability to open up and communicate my true thoughts, opinions, and feelings. this was (and still is) a realm that becomes very clouded in the physical realm. (or as nate calls it, RL)

being in a safe place such as this and being free to think out loud and discuss without fear has helped me to get to know myself better. it has also gotten me to loosen up more in the physical realm with people around me.

the more i have had conversations such as these here, talking in the no-holds-barred way that i do, i find it spills out in RL. conversations with coworkers have evolved into a completely different thing for me. i bring this comfortable "room" with me and invite others into it as we talk. people are waiting to share their true thoughts if you let them.

some people have grown up in very conservative and strict environments where they found their true thoughts getting them into trouble, and need a little more coaxing than others.

i don't think that's a bad thing. sometimes people need a little assisstance in order to do what they need to do. (you wouldn't take my son's wheelchair away from him, would you?) if some of us need a safe place for our brains and hearts to go for a little while to recharge and regroup, what is wrong with that?

so that may make us misfits. but that's not a bad thing. that's what i love about god. he LOVES misfits.

plus, you know as well as i do what would most likely happen if i tried to read any of the things that have been written here or if i asked any of these questions from a pulpit...

PLUS the huge advantage we have over most RL churches is that fellowship happens MORE than once or twice a week without being a huge source of stress on people. (nobody here is stressed out about any of this, are you? if so, i'm sorry. NEVER my intention. quite the opposite...)
for example, in feb. of '06, on my previous blog, exfoliations, we conducted a study of the book of acts. 28 days, 28 chapters. the study changed me from the inside out, as well as the daily contact with these safe people who sought my edification and well being. that's almost 7 months worth of sundays packed into one month.

and the people here, while overly playful, also seem to take their faith and studying and discussion seriously. almost as an art form. i know it is for me.

but we still haven't really gotten to your core question yet, have we?

is this just another place where we coddle ourselves into ineffectuality as the world dies all around us?

once again, the answer to that question, i believe, is not singular. because the answer is going to be different for all of us. do i think blogging can be addictive and become a completely engrossing fantasy to the detriment of a person's RL? of course, the same as with anything.

i constantly need to remind myself that this blog is not the end, it is simply one of the means. much the same as the early church, i think this is more of a centralized hub. an HQ of sorts for us to come and share our experiences and thoughts. to encourage one another to continue. as each day we go out into the RL world and simply try to heal hearts and minds and lives as best we can.

that's the main thing i learned submersing myself in the world of the apostles for a month. all these guys did was go out every day and try to change people's minds from choosing the current majority reality (establishment) and choose to live in a new reality where things like love, peace, generosity, and joy reign. to tell people that, "this place exists because you have been given the ability to create it by the choices you make."

the apostles and those who changed their minds would go out during the day to invite new people to the party, and then at night they would party in together in the new world. the kingdom now. then the next day they would go out and invite more people to the party, and the next night they would party.

being here in this blogosphere helps me to create and maintain a kingdom focused mind. once maintained, it goes with you EVERYWHERE. trust me.

i have had many adventures in RL because of blogging. but they are a great many stories already told, or to be told at another time.

one last question for you, patti. if you have a concern about being involved in or utilizing things that are not real, have you ever questioned your involvement and utilization of things like money or time?

(instead of helping you clean up, i thought i would just vomit in the same area as you and we can tell everyone it's all mine if you want. i'm puking all over in here all the time, so it'll totally be believable. some days you need to look before you sit down. didn't anyone tell you?)

Nate said...

Wow, what's that smell in here. Jon is that your vomit? I was hoping that someday you would learn. I think you just like to see the prose of your own typing.

Patti,
No the transformation comes from participating here. But once tranformed, there is no turning back. So, you can only go forward.

Today, I saved an elderly womans life. She was really sick, and wanted to drive. We convinced her to go with the paramedics that I called, rather than get behind a wheel and kill herself or someone else.

Why? Because of the transformation here, I am more willing to get into other people's lives. That is a good thing. Because they always see a difference in me versus others around them. Then they ask why? It works. For me. God has different paths for all. Yours may coincide here for a while, then once you have what God would like you to have. You may never come back. If so, that is OK. If you stay for the rest of your life. That is fine too. whatever happens, just go where God leads, and don't worry about it. He knows what He's doing.

Patti Blount said...

It seems like I am pushing through the crowd to touch Him, but along the way, I stop and ask others opinions or perspectives. My insecurities lie in "not going for it (or Him) at all costs," but something keeps pressing me on, nonetheless. As I desire to seek and find Him, I am distracted by the noise and activity around me, and I stop to eat of these other
vineyards, and my soul remains unsatisfied. This may be my personal time in the journey to spend "one night with the King," and yet I still haven't given up consulting with "flesh and blood." And there lies the rub, and the confusion and the restlessness. So, I may leave (here) and go (to Him.) I know for a fact that everything I had formerly relied upon, He is showing me is insufficient and faulty, even harmful and hurtful. All except Him. EVen so, I know that your concern is from a heart of brotherly love, which I am grateful for, and He has used you both to direct me to Him. Yes, He does know what He is doing. Thank you for reminding me of that.

Nate said...

Also Patti, Quit trying to become something. When you give up doing that, then God can make you into something. But as long as you are trying, you are fighting against God. So quit trying to become, and allow yourself to be made.

Jesus is the potter, but if the clay tries to do it's own thing, that makes it much harder for the potter.

Patti Blount said...

Nate-You speak the truth. Probably about the time you posted your comments, I was tearfully admitting what the Lord had shown me, of trying to be somebody and that has gotten in the way of Him being seen in and through me, but letting go of that (my trying and self-effort to impress others) is going to be the death of me. Also, if I might ask-How do you see that I am trying to be somebody? Was it that obvious?

Tessa said...

This does not relate to the topic

http://zeitgeistmovie.com/

watch at your own risk

Valorosa said...

Wow, the zeitgeist movie ...
Sweet Tessa, be very careful.

Just for those who may be checking in, I feel strongly led to give my shibeanits on this film.

There are two blatant lies mixed with a whole lot of stuff we have been discussing, in the introductory topic of this film ... if you know the scriptures you will spot them. There may be more that I missed. They are quite purposely planted there. One can only ask what is their motive?

The makers of this film do a lot of complaining about those who would control and manipulate us. It is quite clear after you watch Zeitgeist that these filmmakers are great manipulators themselves.

This film leaves you feeling hopeless and angry about almost everything ... it is an empty work.

Please understand that there will be great delusion so great that IF IT WERE POSSIBLE even the people of God would struggle to know which end is up. The Lord says it is not possible for His own to be deceived ... but there will be struggle in the mind as those who want us to question God's existence become louder and louder.

There is quite a movement among atheists and intellectuals to get the world to drop faith in God, to drop the Bible as any sort of guide book at all. They are afraid of what is coming and they "believe" they can stop it by "converting" everyone to unbelief.

You know, I have been struggling with a lot of things lately. Really HARD things. Really HARD questions I have been asking God. One of the BIG reasons I have hung around here for so long.

My heart is breaking.

It is so "coincidental" that I just dusted off "Human Clay" by Creed and have been listening to my favourite songs from it as I read here.

"With Arms Wide Open"
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place I'll show you everything...
I'll show you love I'll show you everything...

"Higher"

Can you take me higher?
To the place where blind men see
Can you take me higher?
To the place with golden streets
Although I would like our world to change
It helps me to appreciate
Those nights and those dreams
But, my friend, I'd sacrifice all those nights
If I could make the Earth and my dreams the same
The only difference is
To let love replace all our hate
So let's go there
Let's make our escape
Come on, let's go there
Let's ask can we stay?
Up high I feel like I'm alive for the very first time
Up high I'm strong enough to take these dreams
And make them mine.

I have challenges that I am at times bitter about in this life of mine ... and I came here to vent some but have been "led" now an entirely different way that has actually put salve on my wounds.

God is love,
and those who live in love,
live in God,
and God lives in them.

Nate said...

Patti, Yes it was obvious that you love God sooooo much, and you want to please Him sooooo much. Nothing wrong with that at all. It is just that sometimes, that gets in the way.

I am a person of action. If I don't like something, I try to change it. So when I felt that I wasn't where God wanted me, I, I repeat I put me where I thought God wanted me. Instead of letting God put me where He wanted me.

I just saw aome of that reflected in you. The hardest thing in the world for me was to NOT be in control, and NOT to be the one that was doing. But, I am happier now. God does a much better job of directing my life than I do.

Wendy, My sister. If you have something that you would not like posted on the web, but would like an ear to bend. Please email me. I would like to be of support through your tough time in any way that I can.

I too got a lot of spiritual pleasure from Human Clay, also from My Own Prison. But Scott Stapp went kind of nuts. Too bad.

Your on the prayer list now. CYBERHUG There, I hope you feel a little better, and very loved.

Jon, I just noticed the tag line on Something Else. "Church kids gone wrong." Got a hearty belly laugh out of that one.

Valorosa said...

Thanks Nate :-)

My son is in need of healing.
He has psychiatric problems from a head injury as a youngster. They didn't show until he was 12 and just kept getting worse. Nothing has helped us. It seems all the hope the psychiatric world tried to give us has been empty and we stand at the precipice of a new threat now ... the threat of heart disease and diabetes and very real obesity because of drugs that don't help us very much at all.

The healing power of God that I have believed in for so many years eludes us. And that is what breaks my heart the most and probably what has led me here to something else.

Nate said...

Well Wendy,
I understand that one only too well. So does Jon I am sure. Sherri being on dialysis for 23 years has seriouly hit her health. She is in constant chronic pain. Taking pain killers so strong that they would throw me for a HUGE loop. She has to take them constantly just to function. I pray for her everyday. She has said, "God is a kind of a bastard if he makes me go through this all of the time." Could he fix it. Yes. Why doesn't he. I don't know. But every time I try some things on my own. They never turn out as good as I want them to be.

For one, I don't know what kind of overbearing egotistical asshole I would be right now, without having to look at the death of my wife in the face on many different occaisions. She has almost died on me so many times I can't remember them all. But, for me haveing gone through all of that. I have had to do a lot of introspection and decide what my priorites are in life, and what really makes life worth living. So her pain is a lot of my gain. So I can see how God is working in me through her. Is it worth the pain she goes through everyday. To me it is not. I guess we will have to see in hindsight. Nothing ever makes sense while we are in it.

I have seen two miracles in my own family that will hopefully give you some hope.

My father. He had a massive stroke in 1999. He was tild that he would be a slobbering invalid the rest of his life and that we should just get ready for that. He is now the Pastor of the church in, can't remember the name of the town right now. But it is south of Nimrod about 40 miles. He has recovered to about 98% of what he was.

Next is Zaavan, Jon's son. He had a very difficult birth, and has cerebral palsey (spelling). Anyway, he was having up to 35 seizures a day. The doctors said that he would be as a new born baby his entire life. Never moving, walking, talking, or having any meaning ful life whatsoever. Well, they found a diet that controlled his seizures to a point that he could function again. He is the happiest little boy in the world. And, he can move his muscles enough to stand on his own. THAT IS A MIRACLE TO ME. Because he was never supposed to be able to. I love that little guy so much. It's crazy.

But they do not always take the form we expect. And in both cases, take a LOT of work. But the work came from faith. And the faith was rewarded.

So please don't lose heart. I pray for you everyday now. And will continue to do so.

Valorosa said...

Thanks again.

I have noted quite carefully the health struggles of both your families. It was a joy to hear that you had come up with the "long" end of the stick with your wife's last surgery.

I've been dwelling on this ...

Colossians 2:2

...that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to ALL THE WEALTH that comes from the
full assurance of understanding, resulting in a TRUE KNOWLEDGE of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are HIDDEN

ALL

the TREASURES of WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE.

Nate said...

The chant has not been heard in a while, so I will see if I can get it started. It is kind of like the wave. You have to try to get it started over and over, and encourage others to take it up. So here goes:

Zaavanco, Zaavanco, Zaavanco, Zaavanco!

Catchy ain't it.

Valorosa said...

Yes Yes Zaavanco!
He's standing?! :-)

jON said...

glad that you guys don't mind making yourselves comfortable even when i'm not home. very cool. me blogga es su blogga.

there are some pictures on zaavanco.

jON said...

computer issues going on right now. not sure when i'll be back up.

Dena G said...

Wow. I've missed a lot! Right now, I'm kind of grateful for the nasty cold that has me sidelined from the so-called "real" world--I've gotten to catch up on some blog-reading tonight.

I'm grateful as well for this little "family" I've found here. I love this community and I, too, believe that it's "church"...in a very real way that many organized churches (and I use that term very lightly) are not.

Things are a bit crazy "out there" for me right now, but I'm still here and I'm sure I'll be more verbal again soon.

jON said...

ahhh. dena, dena. it's good to have you back.

thanks for stopping by.