2013-05-02

When I called Saul.

A few months ago I once again found myself reading Genesis.  I've been working my way through the Old Testament and something has been sticking out like a sore thumb.  I guess it caught my attention with Gideon.  Is starts in Judges 6 when God visits Gideon.  It's kind of strange reading through and reminiscent of when Jacob wrestled with God.  I get the impression that the angel of God that is visiting Gideon is getting a good laugh on the inside because Gideon keeps asking for signs to make sure it really is God, asking Him to hang around and wait for him to come back.

A bit later Gideon summons a bunch of other guys to knock heads of the Midians that were at the time ruling over the Israelites (IIRC, feel free to call me out if I muddle things up a bit) and agains he wants a sign from God to make sure he's gonna survive his future head-knocking adventure.  2 nights he asks God to moisten either his mat or the floor, leaving the one not moistened dry.

Fast forward to 1 Samuel to just after Saul is appointed King and his son Jonathan for some reason gets an idea to go attack the Philistine camp with just his shield-bearer. It's actually pretty amazing.  Jonathan's faith was such that he says, "Nothing can stop the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few." (1Sam 14:6).  So here he goes and before he goes up he lays out a plan to see what God has in store.  If the Philistines that he is approaching up the cliffside call Jonathan and his shield-bearer up to them Jonathan is sure this means that God has given the entire Philistine army into their hands.  The two of them.  @_@

Then fast forward to Jonathan and David coming up with a plan to find out wether or not Saul wanted to kill David.  Jonathan would find out and then fire off a few arrows and depending on what he tells his servant (crazy that he has a servant to go fetch his arrows...) David will discover what Saul's plans are. [[aside - The way it's delivered it seems like David immediately approaches Jonathan after he tells his servant that the arrows are too far to fetch which makes me wonder why in the world they came up with that plan in the first place. Ideas?]]

So I've been curious how I might apply that to my life.  But not because of David, Jonathan, or Gideon.  Partly, but the real catalyst for this desire is Saul.  Yup. The guy that goes psychotically jealous, flip-flops back and fourth between loving and hating David, acting foolishly and repenting; the guy seems like a real basket-case.....sounds a lot like me.

So what's the deal with Saul? God picked him and told Samuel to anoint him King because the Israelites wanted a King and to be like everybody else. In the beginning The Bible says that the spirit of God was with Saul and he seemed to be doing things right.  But then he saved some cattle, some sheep and fat calves - "everything that was good" and God was sore displeased because He said to wipe out EVERYTHING.  [[[I've talked before on the sovereignty of God  and His knowledge/Justice on here (I think anyway...) but fire away if you, like me, struggle when you read these kinds of God given directives. ]]]
Saul says in his defense whenever Samuel calls him out for keeping the livestock by saying, "The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.” (1Sam 15:21)

Which sounds like Saul was doing what he thought would be what God wanted, but Samuel expounds a bit more on what God delights in from us:


"Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.”



Here Saul breaks down and admits, "I was afraid of the men and so gave into them."

I guess this sticks out to me more so because of a recent sermon I was listening to by Mac Brunsen.  He brought up the connection of, and it's a bit hazy now so forgive me for the broad strokes here, our design and our tendencies. That because God made us to be in relationship with Him and to worship Him, but we are still in this squishy body partly separated from Him and intensely looking for ways to pleasure ourselves, we can often make the mistake of creating idols but with the intent to please God with them. I believe the quote was, "make our idols look an awful lot like Jesus" which immediately sends my mind to that quote in Matthew 7:


 "On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you;depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Terrifying.  Maybe this is what happened to Saul.  Maybe the melancholy, the rage, the bi-polar emotions he lived with were God taking his hedge of protection away and letting all "the fiery darts of Satan" plunge into his mind.  All because he tried to make what he himself wanted, pleasure of his fellow men, to be what God wanted and at they weren't really the same at all.

Those are things I've been thinking about anyway.  Of course it's balanced by Matthew 16: 1-4:

And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show thema sign from heaven. 2He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed. (a good commentary on that bit here)

Outside of that I'm working on a bunch of music.  I actually might have, assuming I can finish them, an album of material to put out for my soft stuff.  Oh, also big news is that I changed the name of Pissing Graffiti to Forgetting To Fall which I wholeheartedly like.  Can the heavy and soft stuff coexist under that Moniker? Who knows.  Still playing around.  But I've got some digital heavy stuff, some proog-rock heavy stuff, and some soft stuff all brewing.  God willing it'll reach a state where you guys get to hear it too :D
This is me lately =(



2012-12-20

a, b, and something...maybe c?


I was just reading Hebrews chapter 2 and this verse stuck in my head.  One of those sticky readings where you feel like you're not understanding what you're reading so it churns about in your mental regions repeating itself.  I started at this verse and read it over and over again for some reason and then something clicked.

I have been wondering about Communion for a while now. "This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you."  Seems gruesome.  I mean why have sacrifice at all? Why do tribes the world over feel the need to sacrifice to some deity so that their sins will be forgiven, or mercy be shown, or the sun rise, or crops be fruitful? Let’s assume:

(a) - There is a metaphysical existence beyond the physical one we know about.
(b) - There is purpose to our lives.  

There seems to be this void in life that desires learning, or contributing, or being a part of something; regardless of that something having been identified or not. It strikes me that there has to be a consciousness in order to attain (b).  So (b) wouldn't really be a problem, or question, or void, if it weren't for our consciousness.  So:

(c) - There must be consciousness for (b) to be found.

[ a bit of © explained; I say “found” as it pertains to “life” because I am talking about the actions, intuitions, conclusions and whatnot of Human beings; it is yet to be discovered if rocks have the same existential crises that we do. If one day we discover that earthquakes are what rocks do in order to satisfy this sense of bloodletting, so be it.]

Now, Humans have a tendency to want to be in control.  I know I want to be in control of a situation and hate it when things go awry. People get sick and, "hodgepodge!" People get stabbed and, "Why the heck is this happening?!?!" People get evicted and, "this sucks.."  Whatever "should be" train you're riding there is a dire sense of wrongness when it is derailed and death tells us this catastrophe is unavoidable.  It's arguable then, that if (a) were to exist surely it must be trying to reinforce (b). This leads us to conclude that:

(d) - (a) has or has had some control in setting up © and it’s relationship to (b).

Losing control however seems to often be regarded as one of the best things for (c) to attain (b).  

"The discipline of suffering, of great suffering - do you not know that only this discipline has created all enhancements of man so far?"" - Nietzsche

This seems to ring of (b) not only being a requirement in (c) but something beneficial.  So if (a) seeks to point (c) towards the realization of (b) we can, I believe, safely conclude that (a) is not indifferent to us, but seeks our betterment. Like a teacher with their pupil, (a) has used (d) to initiate (c)'s attainment of (b). It feels safe to say:

(e) - (c) will return, or enter, or interact with (a) after death.

To what purpose are we to be improved upon if not (e).  To that end death becomes to (c) not an end, but beginning or a change of state akin to moving from sleep to wakefulness.  

Now that's a whole lot of backdrop for me reading Hebrews chapter 4.  But it has a purpose.  The verse that specifically stood out for me was 14:

"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;"

Let's ignore the bit about the devil having the power of death for now as it gets a little deeper and I've yet to really think much about his place - as of now it's more or less just the required source of loss/suffering/death. What initially struck me probably wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for an earlier realization that sometimes translations are strange as anything.  I don't know the source, but this is oooooooold language.  I read stuff just two centuries old and get confused.  Multiply that by ten.  So a lot of things I've heard time and again are almost needlessly convoluted.  That first part here is just saying I am born of my parents.  Their blood and flesh made my blood and flesh.  And it was this that suddenly hit me.

If (a) created death as the door that allows for (e) then it would make some kind of sense that (c)'s inherent desire to attain (b) would lead to blood sacrifice;  knocking at the door of death as it were. Why would (a) implement such a thing then? Only if (e) exists and death is not as final as (c) feels it is.  Of course the obvious, “WHAT?” for me is that if someone came to the conclusion of coming nearer to attaining (b) and “comuning” as it were with (a), why would that person not just shed their own blood? I imagine it would have something to do with our lacking (b) and the void of filthiness that it leaves in us.  We would want something that isn’t dirty to go before (a) otherwise it would feel profane; our blood would feel inadequate as opposed to something pure.  Something that didn’t have the vacuous pit as found in people.

My realization as it were: The communion is in one sense me reminding myself that I am not of this world.  That while I HAVE blood and flesh, I am born of a new "blood and flesh" that is part of (a), and (e). In Mark 3:12 we have Jesus saying, 

“If I have told you of earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things” 

That speaks to me that the flesh of blood of Christ is, in classic Biblical nature, both literal and metaphoric.  Literal in that Jesus’s body was broken, and His blood was shed; metaphoric in that the Communion we partake in is indicative of a spiritual correlate.  So, the door that is between (c) and (a)/(e) is now open because it's maker, (a), took on the ABILITY to die with, alongside, and for, (c).

How’s THAT for needlessly convoluted! :D Let me know if any of this sounds totally heinous or absurd or if I’m just real off the mark. It happens.  I’ve been thinking about starting to write posts where I go through explaining how I found out I was wrong.  That’s kind of where most of this comes from but maybe a more direct :I started thinking this way, read up on things, discovered I was wrong.  Yay for learning!” +nathan

Love of pickles! Happy Merry Christmas Year!



2012-10-13

A Think about Actions.

So I've always struggled with the idea of Grace (Oh no another Theology post!?!?! Deal with it). I'm not quite sure where to start this.  I began just wanting to bring attention to Act2 27:10 and 11.  Paul is on his way to Rome after his appeal to Ceasar to be treated fairly because some ruffians wanted to kill Paul.  I feel like there's a "Better call Saul!" joke somewhere in there...

Anyway, my think was originally about how Paul advises the captain to not set sail, but is ignored.  Then later on God comes to Paul and tells him not to be afraid (which mean...Paul was afraid; it's nice to know the heavyweights still got skeerd) and that him and the rest of the ship are going to have to get shipwrecked on an island; but it'll be cool.

So...really a bad choice (the captains to set sail) had to be made.  A bad choice had to happen.  A choice in which the good option was ignored has to happen.  A man must make a choice, and that choice must be terrible.  Given two choices, a human being is going to have to pick "a" or "b" and the most uncomfortable must be chosen. Get it? I don't.

Ok, so it probably didn't HAVE to happen, but it did and God had a plan.  Maybe the painful choice *WAS* God's plan (ahem...enter Judas...).  It didn't have to happen; the captain could've listened to Paul.  We could've just lived righteously the way God told us to.  The Jews didn't have to build that calf beneath Mt. Sinai and could've just waited patiently.

But they didn't then and we don't now.

Yay for Grace ^_^

Hm.  I'm tired now and can't really remember the other thinks that tied into this...leave a comment and maybe that'll jog my memory.

OH! This is pretty cool too, found some Sherlock Holmes radio-plays on archive.org.  CHECK IT OUT!



2012-04-28

3 thoughts from a bum

Just thinking.

1 - Pilot.  Pontius.  The guy has always fascinated me.  His interaction with Jesus covers so many different aspects of life.  Here he is presented with the Truth to which he, in an almost heart breaking display of despair, responds:

"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all." (John 18:38)

Did the man have slumped shoulders as if resigned to the conclusion that Truth did not exist? Even in the man before him who, in direct opposition to the very idea, claimed to BE that Truth. Surely he couldn't have had disdain on his face, or looked down his nose at Jesus to then proceed so vigorously to use what power he had to try to free Jesus.

He has been presented with something he had thought lost but cannot allow himself to believe it.  It feels so very close to home in so many of the debates I've had and read about; what do you do when presented with something you don't believe in.  How would you react in Pilots position? You are not Jewish, you do not have those beliefs, and yet you would have to give up everything should it turn out to be true.  It's hard.  Circumstantially it couldn't have gone any other way, so you wonder about the fate of Pilot.  Where does his soul rest now?  Did he later come to recognize Truth or not?

It's like he is the epitome of trying to DO the right thing, to do what seems BEST, even when it goes against what you know is RIGHT. If that make any sense ^_^ Maybe I connect with Pilot on some level.  I mean who doesn't, right; the guy has to make a choice - it's the same choice everyone comes to at some point.  "Is there a God?"  At least it sure seems to me like everyone has to face that question.  How does your own life grind against that question? The pressures of social expectations or your own personal goals; whatever you think you need to accomplish in life before you die.  What of it all when faced with what might just be the Truth.

2 - Communion - God HAD a body to break.  Think about that.  It just hit me today.  The creator of everything.  Indescribable.  Perfection.  Is 3 entities; able to have a relationship with himself. Yet He takes on the form of His creation so that he may have the qualities that allow himself to be broken, so that we might understand our purpose; where we come from and where we are headed.

The creator of suffering, took on a form so that He might suffer.

mind=blown.

3 - i forgot.




2012-02-20

Thoughts on God

"[Which] Man is the measure of all things" -Protagoras, modified =)


Religion. Theology. God. What's the point right? Does metaphysics or the supernatural or the divine need be studied? Obviously I am going to shout, "Absolutely!" because I have never had a discussion that didn't come back to theological concepts (and by theology I do not mean the modern term it's come mean; the study of religion [which, like a Democrat or Republican, is really just a label for a group of people's attempt to find the Truth through explaining the human problems of existence]. Instead I mean the more classical Grecian intent of the word meaning discourse of God). From abstract concepts being applied to social problems to the Theory of Evolution; there are certain foundations that I feel must be answered for a discussion to hold water.


Most important of these questions, I feel, is to answer the question, "Why?" Without answering this question first you will find all your dialogues to be mere excursions into the world of elitism, bickering back and fourth about peripheral issues gathering whatever information you can do disprove another idea (which in my experience you're able to find conflicting reports and resources on just about anything).


Now, I'm a Christian and some people think that means I instantly have a problem with science. I don't. Only when it is being used to further ones own interests do I take up arms because you are at that point not being scientific. Science seeks the Truth. Most of the time I believe people think of science in terms of Naturalism and the closed system that it demands, but really the goal of any branch of science is to find the Truth. Most of the sciences in the framework of Naturalism tend to find lots and lots of answers to, "How?" and that's fine, but it has no place in trying to find the answer to, "Why?" I can't help but conclude that the misidentification of the two questions is why Naturalism and Theology are often such combustible subjects; Truth is unavoidably exclusive and if not thought about with proper regard people get insulted, passions flare and miscommunication seems to reach unimaginable heights.


So, why are we alive? Why is the universe spinning about? Before diving into my own reasonings I think there's a discussion to be had on its' significance. A lot of people I've talked to over the years are under the impression that there doesn't have to be a purpose or meaning behind the existence of the universe and that life exists at all is merely happenstance and blind chance. The idea is that the very concept of meaning is a human one and therefore we are set to task at identifying meaning in our own individual lives. If that were true then history tells us we're all screwed. Read this quote by English journalist Steve Turner from "Creed."


"If chance be the father of all flesh, disaster is his rainbow in the sky. And when you hear "state of emergency," "sniper kills ten," "troops on rampage," "bomb blasts school," it is but the sound of man worshipping his maker."


You see? If life had no meaning and I come to your house, point a gun to your head, and tie you up while I chop off your arms and legs you're suddenly going to have a change of heart and the first thing out of you're mouth is going to be, "*WHY* are you doing this to me?" If I take you to a hospital so that you do not die you may come to any one of a myriad different explanations, however, if life is meaningless then so is any attempt to rationalize human behavior beyond, "[He/I] wanted to."** One isn't even allowed to conclude that life isn't fair because even that is a contradiction; fairness by definition means one "thing" is right and another is wrong. Right and wrong do not belong in a meaningless world of chaos and chance where "things" happen and humanity decides wether to call it good or bad; and again we are left asking…which human; for surely there can be only one ruleset, one dictionary to define these terms if the goal is perfection and Truth. You cannot have differing definitions of what is good without an impenetrable isolation of cultures.


An interesting idea that. Separate cultures into isolation zones each with it's own moral code. You could essentially congregate an infinite number of moral petri dishes…but even then if the codices of "Zone 24" end up with their population extinct because of disease and "Zone 25" produces people that are never ill, one must conclude which is more preferable and in so doing you're back at the beginning. It's endless. For there to be any real order there must be some absolute ruleset that exists which results in perfection. It must be eternal and it must be as True as 1+1=2.


**Maybe there is another rationalization here but I do not see it. This "[He/I] wanted to" explanation is in itself faulty from where I sit because there are many instinctual habits and desires that are truly Good and, in my opinion, a reflection of the nature of God. One of these is compassion. What purpose does it serve in a world where evolution demands only the strong survive? Why do I feel so strongly that I *am* my brothers keeper? In the confines of evolution I might see logic in the argument that compassion arises from our realization some millennia ago that I am stronger in a group, a community. This comes close I think but doesn't fit well because if I realize my need for "strength in numbers" as it were I would be angry, not compassionate, at the shortcomings of those I have selected to join my organization.


So meaningless from where I sit is an excuse to justify that pipe dream humanity holds of complete autonomy. It doesn't fit into reality but we want it to oh so badly.


This leads me to my second point on why I don't think you can rationally believe that the Universe has no meaning; environmental suffering. From killer bacteria and viruses that kill and maim, to hurricanes and tsunami's; global warming and the human races impact on it's environment might be increasing the frequency and magnitude of these events but they've been around for all of recorded history and before. These events shape the very earth that gives us life. So here we humans are, the only species to be given (or if you prefer for the time being, evolved) cognitive function and self-realization living in a world where quite literally EVERYTHING causes us suffering.


Why? Is the price of our cognition the understanding and torment of suffering? Its' opposite is pleasure, so maybe we evolved our sentience in pursuit of pleasure and ended up with a bag full of suffering to deal with whenever pleasure wasn't around. That seems like a big mistake to me. If our lives are meaningless then nature made a wrong turn in allowing us the cognitive abilities we have because throughout human history we are taught over and over again that when humans reach out to grab hold of pleasure they leave a wake of suffering behind them.


So what's the purpose of understanding purpose? Naturalistically speaking. As a Christian my purpose is given by God; in His workings in my heart, my perception of the universe, my dealings with other people, and serving Him. However I fail to see one in the realm of naturalism. Imagine you were given the choice between suffering and pleasure; even the masochist who may chose suffering does so because it is PLEASURABLE to them! If purpose and meaning is merely a balm to ease our suffering, a mentally evolved soma, then humanity is about as important as a blade of grass. A particle of dust floating in space however does *not* explain why we have the faculties we do. At best it sets up a partial framework for the intrinsic worth of life by way of, "you are important to me, only in so far as you are able to help me" which falls short of reality.


My conclusion? I am not the end of the equation. We can and do ask, "why" because God wants us to answer that question with His name. His son. He has given us the ability to chose right from wrong; has put causality in our minds and suffering in our lives because He, the author of life, understands that chosen love for our creator is more powerful than anything else we can experience. I do not believe that there is sufficient explanation available in a closed system without God to explain why I want so badly to be loved. Why the weak and broken in this world tug at my heart. Why I am surprised by the passing of time. Why I feel such revulsion towards chaos and destruction. Why I get such pleasure at watching others succeed.


It is how we are MADE. Of all I've ever learned these traits do not come about in an evolutionary life-system. Survival of the fittest has no room for compassion.


"If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" - John 3:12


I know I'm only 27 years old. The last 3 years of my life have been lived in extreme isolation because of my "medicine" -.0 I have read the Bible many times over and I've studied the philosophies of Buddhism and some of the Islamic faith. I've some understanding of faiths outside of my own, enough to know that they are indeed NOT as similar as everyone who doesn't want to believe in one says they are. But in every instance of learning about another person or groups attempt at explaining these questions of existence and humanity I do not see the completeness that I do in Christian faith. No other explanations come so close to the human heart, our suffering (in which God Himself took on completely), our moral dilemmas and temptations as we find in the Word of God. We find purpose, explanation, hope, and comfort that is attainable and applicable in the reality that we are currently living in.


Thoughts and musings from myself and others.


-"You don't have a soul. You are a soul.You have a body." - C.S.Lewis


-"He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end." -Ecclesiates 3:11


-“But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.” - Aldous Huxley


-"In speaking of this desire for our own far-off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited. " -C.S. Lewis


-"Lets say a mathematician wants to start his own branch of mathematics where 1+1=4 and gravity falls a good bit slower than 9.8m/s2. They can go right ahead and do so, but in the end it doesn't have any correlation to the world you and I live in."


-"An interesting line of thinking that branches off in my mind: If the second law of thermodynamics states that, roughly from my understanding, the universe is ever moving onward toward the entropic death of inefficiency then how has this biological system come to contradict that law so thoroughly in the theory of evolution? Physics says that things are perpetually deteriorating, yet evolution claims the pathway to life. It confuses me but maybe I'm not understanding things clearly. "


That's all for now. I do wish for input and maybe urge you to post up if you have problems with my logic or if i'm unclear (as unfortunately happens a lot these days ^o^)