|Until we see||
MARY: AN ALTERNATIVE SCENARIO…
Mary’s friend (laughing): “Mary...you’re either putting on weight...or you’re pregnant! You and Joseph haven’t...have you?
Mary (dismissively): “Of course not!”
Mary’s friend (three weeks later): “Mary! Haven’t seen you in a while....where have you been? Uh oh...what’s happened? You know what you look like, don’t you dear? You seem to have a bump emerging....Oh dear, I don’t know whether to cry for joy—or dismay! Is it true?”
Mary (confidingly and graciously): “It’s time for me to tell you what is happening.”
Mary’s friend (somewhat saccharine): “Oh Mary, I know what’s happening—and what’s happened! You know I’m your best friend— you know I’ll understand...and still love you. How does Joseph feel about it?
Mary (assuringly and discreetly): “No, best friend, you don’t know at all what’s happening, actually; and I’m still coming to terms with it.”
Mary’s friend (comfortingly): “There, there, my dear...I can understand...it must be difficult. I must say I’m somewhat shocked and I’m sure you know some will stigmatise you; but I won’t...”
Mary (becoming firmer): “my dearest friend, I want you to listen carefully. A little while ago I had the most remarkable encounter with a being who said he was Angel Gabriel and that I had been chosen to bear a child by God’s Spirit who will be the Immanuel One...and I knew at once in my deepest heart that it was utter truth...believe me, I’ve been pondering it all in my heart for weeks and asking ‘how can such a thing be?’”
Mary’s friend: “Oh Mary, under such distress as you clearly are it’s easy for our minds to play tricks on us...it’s a coping mechanism...a need to rationalise things and have an explanation to offer. We’ve all experienced it in one measure or another. But an angel? Really dear, nobody’s going to buy that—let me help you through this. Now look, I’m probably the only one who’s noticed...has anyone else commented? There may be a way out of this embarrassing mess before anyone notices...I know of a physician, skilled in these things who has treatments and means at an early stage, to make such problems disappear! I could talk with him...”
Mary (now agitated): “I thought you were my friend!”
Mary’s friend (with empathy): “You know I am! We’ve travelled together through so many things. But this...look, it’s just going to become sooo difficult for everyone concerned—and it really needn’t be. Think of your dear parents. And can you see what it will mean to a child born in such circumstances...and the cost to you all and to Joseph’s business and standing in the community? Really Mary my dearest, believe me...it’s just not worth the trouble it will bring on everyone concerned. Yes, yes, I know you said Joseph too had heard from this angel...but really, can’t you see, it’s the stress getting to both of you. Let your dearest old friend take care of it...and of you. I can speak with my physician friend today. Life will go on as normal...you and Joseph can wed, have a lovely celebration and then there’ll be time for children and all will look well for you both. Look, I love you too much to see you suffer unnecessarily my dearest. Let me see what I can do...there’s no time to waste. There’s my good girl Mary.”
Mary: (vacillating): “Well...I do feel for my dear betrothed.”
Friend (newly confident): “There you are, you see, you’re feeling better already. There is hope that you can put all this understandable difficulty and delusion behind you and move on into a great future together.”
Mary: “But the angel said...and Joseph and I have not...”
Friend (impatient): “Angel, schmangel! No more nonsense my dear. You know you’re just a humble girl from Nazareth. Whatever would an angel be doing ‘appearing’ to someone from our village? Come on, you can see now how silly it is...”
Mary (capitulating): “Maybe something happened between Joseph and me that I can’t remember...or I’m blotting it out; I know our minds can trick us...perhaps what you say might be best...”
Friend (elated): “Good girl. Let your friend take care of it. It’ll all be over and forgotten in no time.”
"If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents—the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts --i.e., of Materialism and Astronomy — are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk-jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.”
C S Lewis: God in the Dock (p52-53 Answers to Questions on Christianity)
Gender fluidity and choice?
Raging against God:
There is no length, it seems, to which we as flawed humans will not go to assert our imagined sovereignty and rage against God. The view that we can rule all things, including the gender we think we should have been born with is the latest loud shout of defiance at the sovereignty of another—a gracious and all-knowing God who longs to visit each one of us (if invited) in a profound and majestic way.
I have no control over the ethnicity into which I was born; nor my color; nor who my parents were. These determinations cannot be changed no matter how much I imagine that I really should have been born rich, or British, or black ... or white or ….? No matter how much I think or feel that within my white skin there really is a black person, I cannot change what has been determined. But now, in our sad rebellion against what a sovereign Hand has determined, comes our latest rage against God.
This latest shout of self-sovereignty is not something He dis-allows, because in the realm of our decisions we are, in a limited sense, sovereign. The actor on stage is free to depart from the playwright's lines if he so wishes. It would be an act of self-assertion or rebellion—and, would spoil the play and its outcome. Usually actors choose to abide by the writer's lines. Similarly, we may, in defiance of The Playwright, try to impose our own lines but this, sadly, is simply a defiance of all that is intended to be best for us—intended, with the Playwright’s help, to bring an outcome above all we could ask or imagine; a person of great usefulness to His plan and purpose. This can soon be discovered if we choose to cooperate with Him. For what He offers in Jesus Christ (the model of truest humanity), is acceptance of who we are created to be. This is an extraordinary thing—that if I am prepared to lose myself in the fullest human, Jesus, I discover my own true 'I am'; that is, my self-identity and true self-description, a reflection of the One who is called I AM.
Did we choose the ethnicity, nation or family into which we were born? Can we? No! So why such a loud shout in this matter? Perhaps because it is seen as something about which, at least in our age of science, surgery and chemistry we can exercise a show of defiance and self-rule in a vain hope of engendering (to use an appropriate pun) wholeness and an arrival at joyful self-hood—the very thing, ironically found only in Him!
AT THE END...
At The End some will say, "Why didn't you tell me?"
And HE will say, “Tell you? Remember those of my Followers I brought across your path? You dismissed them as people who needed to see the ‘real’ world when you were actually the one refusing to see it. Or those times when you heard from me at Followers’ funerals or weddings and justified yourself by relegating my Story to ‘folklore’. And remember when I saved your life in that accident? You even said, ‘thank God’! I had your attention for a little time, yet despite that, you still managed to persuade yourself you could handle things better on your own. Your fun and fast-paced lifestyle and career (not to mention pursuit of knowledge and travel—immersing yourself in what you called the ‘real’ world) usually contrived to silence my voice, because I rarely shout.
“Yes, I have been ‘telling you’ all your life; but my voice, and what I’ve had to say wasn’t what you chose to hear. You hoped I would say something I cannot, and affirm you in your lost-ness. No, I actually gave you life in the hope you’d become your ‘found’, true-self in me! You have saddened me deeply with your life-long refusal to heed and yield to my kindness, but I will have to let you go into the end you’ve so clearly told me every day, you’ve chosen.”
Put yourself in this shirt!
MIRACLES AND THE ONION SKIN
My problem with the anti-creation camp is as follows: many are too easily swayed by the mantra, ‘but the science is saying this’ or ‘the science says that’ and automatically jettison any possibility of, for example, an actual 6-day creation. I am not anti-science by any means, but science, remember, is forever only the attempt to understand (and explain) what is observed. What today’s science would have observed (if it could have) when Jesus made wine out of water, was something like the manipulation of time, or the condensing of time. For not only was water made wine in a matter of moments—but the best wine! The maturation process was somehow accelerated within those huge jars.
It is not difficult for me to accept that what he can do in a jar in Palestine, he can do in an infinitely larger space with different matter. What the science would have seen when a lad’s lunch fed more than 5000 people was matter somehow being formed, or at least multiplied—instantaneously. When three men walked unharmed in a furnace that normally consumed flesh instantly, some temporary shift from matter to non-matter appears to have occurred (a reality that Quantum Science now concedes as possibility). What we call miracle, after all, is the implementation of laws that have to date eluded our understanding. You don’t have to read or understand much of quantum physics to see that there is much that baffles the very best scientists—and the best and most modest of these, say so!
We can (and should) go on through all the miracles of the Bible and hear what we call the realm of the miraculous, is saying. Certainly for the Christian, that becomes our platform when confronted with, ‘but the science is saying this’, and be bold enough to say, ‘yes, but that other realm, the miracle/eternal realm is saying this!’
In my view, something from the eternal realm that we are forced to call miracle, is the pinnacle; miracle trumps currently known principles of physics and miracle is the ground Christians occupy. Just recently it has been announced by scientists studying quantum effects that ‘time may be illusory.’ Well ....hello!
The sciences are scratching (as they should) at little tiny pieces of the outer layers of an onion that is huge beyond comprehension! Unfortunately, it too often acts as though it has found the core—and that's what offends me! Surely the way God gets things done does not necessarily need to be explicable to science in its current state (or ever?).
Science will forever be catching up to miracle because God is just a little ahead of us! He knew about the quantum world before Max Planck, Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein found it (they simply found what was there and started trying to explain it!) As time continues we will probably be allowed to discover more mysteries He knew about before He set this thing in motion!
We need to get over ourselves! And ... a lot of scientists need to get over themselves. As one secular scientist—Jeff Forshaw, has wisely said, “By overstating science’s power and not acknowledging its limitations, we risk fostering the growth of a religion-substitute, with the scientists as high priests. Such hubris not only irritates people, but more significantly it risks promoting the misconception that science deals with certainty—and that is the very antithesis of good science.”
who owns the land?
There’s a sense in which a Van Gogh or a Monet work remains the artist's even though they are dead. Critics say “yes, it is his work” and they mean that it has un-mistakeable characteristics that define it as ‘his’. People pay large sums to possess one precisely because it is ‘his’—and copyright laws are in place to ensure that any proceeds from their reproduction remain the right and possession of the creator's heirs and successors. When it comes to what God has made however, it always truly remains His, for He is forever living—and the Son, Jesus Christ has been designated as the heir-in-waiting until the fullness of time. Countries and lands are not actually owned by any people and no amount of saying “it belongs to us” changes this. Real ownership still resides in God who created the lands and who entrusts them to people groups as stewards under His watchful eye. The tithe in God's instructions for Israel was the specific reminder of this, being in fact a rent or 'user fee' (royalty) to The Landlord (and therefore always remains relevant). The product and productivity of lands (mineral, animal, agricultural) is entrusted by the Owner to stewards. When lands become corrupted by abuse, paganism, demon worship, witchcraft and sacrifice of children (abortionists take note: these are the things that corrupt a land), God has every right to remove or change the stewardship, and has done so throughout history for 'the earth is the Lord's, with all its fullness' (Psalm 24:1). In fact, God said to Israel that the land itself is repulsed by such behavior to the point where it will 'vomit you out' if you take those paths. The top button of the economic and societal waistcoat is always God’s ownership and due recognition of it. If the top button is in the wrong buttonhole every other button will be too!
Beautiful Newport Beach,
What people who've read THE PLACE are saying...
Marilyn Sams - author of The Jerusalem Temple Mount Myth: Ian Heard’s book adds a unique ....aspect to the growing movement of people accepting the City of David location for the temples in Jerusalem. His perspective .....brings many insightful possibilities to the table. Especially moving are his heartfelt expressions of faith in and love for the prophets and the Savior of the world'.