Like Jesus, Christians must be coming from AMONG—not from APART...
One of the things about Messiah Jesus that impresses me most is that not only was he human—and fully so—but that he stood among his fellow-humans on common ground. He ministered out of shared human experience, albeit without human failure.
“Is not this the carpenter’s son?” people said, “where did this man get these things? After all, we know his family and brothers and sisters.”
Not a piously aloof graduate of the Rabbinic Schools; he was in the trades! Whose son you were was one of the first questions asked about anyone who began to come to notice. Of David, Saul had asked the same question, “whose son is he?” Pedigree mattered!
Jesus’ schooling, apart from synagogue school when young, was life; and he was required to have some 30 years of it prior to launching into his Father’s mission. Life!—in a carpenter or artisan’s workshop, into which came every specimen of Nazareth’s and Galilee’s life of the day. Merchants and traders, farm boys, the well-heeled and the poor, the lame and the sick, fishermen, hucksters, tax-collectors and pretenders, newly-weds along with soldiers and women of doubtful repute. Jesus got to know them all; some were generous and some didn’t pay their bills or always had an excuse. Colourful language? He’d heard it all. He knew of drought and hardship, as he knew also of field and crop and agriculture, otherwise from whence did all the stories and similes come?
Full immersion in life was exactly why he connected effectively with all and sundry. He could tell stories of thieves and insistent widows and children’s games and of weddings and funerals and feasts and food and wine. He used experiences from life’s realities to touch every heart experiencing its joys and woes. Tales of vineyard owners and stewards; of disappointments and of women preparing bread or anxious over the housekeeping money they’ve misplaced; of fishers’ nets and farmer’s fields; of rogues, villains and cheats. Situations and people recognised by all. LIFE!
His years of immersion in ‘real’ life was utterly necessary so that his message, when it came, was not as one shouted across a chasm by a detached professor with a bunch of theories—like the message of the scholars and Pharisees. No! Where Jesus was ‘coming from’ would resonate instantly with commoners or aristocrat alike, evidencing rich human encounter and a wealth of observation of the ‘ticking’ of the worlds of men, women and children.
Having ‘seen it all’ and then some, he understood them and their joys, anxieties, longings and frustrations, and—he understood clearly his Father’s mission and heart for them all.
And so, he presented to them all (and each) an alternative personal government; the government, or kingdom, of God which could change everything—EVERYTHING—in the lives of those who would embrace it. Right there.
And...right now too!
'...HE SHUT UP JOHN IN PRISON'
Here was Herod the tetrarch’s way of handling the Truth as it came from God, via John the Baptist.
The prophet had dared to rebuke Herod for taking his own brother’s wife, along with other evils. She was known as Herodias.
So Herod shut John up by shutting him up!
When those in government and those who pull their strings don’t like the truth because it discloses sin, including their own, the reaction quickly becomes vindictive. Clearly, John was a bigot, a serial pest—and a danger to healthy society! He must be shut up! For goodness sake; didn’t John know you can’t go around calling out sin and confronting it!?
And—here we are today, with some civil leaders and governments doing all they can to silence gospel Truth. It too must be shut up. You can’t go around saying that certain actions and behaviours are sin. That offends—and to offend is the most heinous of sins—far, far worse that adultery or fornication, for example!
Actually, this disgusting creature John, SO offended Herodias that she ensured John could not even speak in or from prison—or ever again. She made certain he was ‘shut up’ permanently by contriving to have his head, off!
This is how Satan does his work in every age. Jesus too of course, was among the grossest of offenders. He took up where his cousin John had been cut off (in a manner of speaking!) and managed also to offend (it ran in the family!) not so much the government, but the religious elite!
Mark my words: Unless (until) we see a wide and deep spiritual revival in our land, this is where we are headed. The Truth will offend; the Gospel will offend. Not because we desire to offend but because sin will be exposed.
But the reaction of unrepentant and ‘offended sinners’ will be the same as Herod’s; to attempt to ‘shut up’ believers by passing laws that prohibit this offensive ‘hate’ speech—and when that doesn’t work, to decapitate the Church.
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!
‘...in the way everlasting’
King David had discovered the contrast between the two ways of living.
It was a clear and stark contrast.
So his prayer was--
‘search me O God and know my heart
Try me and know my ANXIETIES
And see if there is any WICKED way in me’
David knew that God offered a better way than having life dictated to and defined by what he called SARAPPIM—disquieting and disturbing thoughts. That better way he called ‘the way everlasting’ where SARAPPIM have no place, because God’s nearness cancels them!
He wanted God to search out and expose these SARAPPIM because he had experienced the better way; the far better way.
He knew that the SARAPPIM were actually wicked because they all too cleverly and easily kept him from—and robbed him of—the better way!
THE WAY EVERLASTING...
(Look for it at the end of that favourite Psalm...139)
GENGHIS KHAN or JOAN of ARC?
Some simple questions...
If a man believes he is Genghis Khan or a woman thinks she is Joan of Arc...or for that matter, if a woman believes she is Genghis Khan etc., they are usually referred for treatment and therapy before more damage is done.
Everyone would agree that it would do no good for doctors or helpers to provide the man who believes he’s Genghis Khan with a horse and a sword and an army of followers.
On the other hand if a woman with all the necessary anatomical components believes she is a man today, why is it considered wrong or damaging to help them come to terms with that delusion/deception? And secondly, to make it worse, why do others deliberately join them in their delusion to aid and abet it?!
Are two or three or a hundred deceived people somehow better than one?
All of us are deceived or deluded about one thing or another, but REAL transformation from any deception begins within and works out from there—and it’s on offer from the only One who has power to transform (or transition) us in this way. And—into who we are really meant to transition to and become, and not some warped counterfeit.
It is JESUS CHRIST. He said (and says) wonderful words (which He backs up with wonderful actions), like “COME TO ME all who are labouring and under oppression, and I will give you ease.”
‘...ON THE SPECTRUM’
It was only a matter of time. After all, we all live it seems, at a particular point on some spectrum or another.
Perhaps I am, on a scale of 1 to 100, about 3 1/2 on the autism spectrum; or somewhere on the kleptomania spectrum. Maybe I’m at 20 on the paranoid psychopath spectrum!? (Speaking of which—please don’t dare suggest I’m higher that. Things could get very nasty!)
Once we are able to define every human deficiency or inclination as being somewhere on a spectrum of one or another mental disorder, it means that all this nonsense about us being sinners in need of repentance and salvation can be put to bed once and for all. (I am not making light of genuine mental disorders). The implication is that, given enough time and research dollars, all can be remedied with the appropriate chemicals in pill form!
Of course, not everything is digital—on/off. Lots of things ARE analogue. In the colour spectrum there are infinite shades among each of the primary colours (red, green and blue). There are also grades of affectedness in many ills and diseases.
The word ‘spectrum’ describes genuine degrees of colour or heat or affectedness in some relevant things, but it was only a matter of time before it suggested itself as a convenient descriptor for things which ARE actually and factually digital or binary—like biological sex.
To posit that a person’s biological sex appears somewhere on a spectrum (which is up to them to discern), is rather like saying that the electric light in the room is neither on nor off, but somewhere on a spectrum between on-ness and off-ness. (If a dimmer is fitted in the circuit, the light may be on a spectrum of brightness, but it will still be either on or off).
That is the nature of relativism; it loves the idea of everything in the universe being analogue. No absolute good; no black as opposed to white, only shades of grey; no absolute darkness. No absolutes!
Relativism therefore hates a God who says, “I am the LORD, and there is NO OTHER; There is no God besides Me.”
Or who says, “I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
But there is no spectrum of truth. We can’t access at a point we consider comfortable along a truth spectrum, yet that is what people try to do. They select the ‘bandwidth’ that provides for them what they consider a safe bet.
What God and Jesus have said is either wholly truth or a complete lie.
We must make a digital choice—between light and dark; between truth and falsehood; between life and death!
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'.