We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Thursday, March 31. 2011
Another Lenten meditation: Do not read
Don't bother reading this unless you are on the same page, or pages, that I am on this Lent. My musings and meanderings will bore you, and I do not understand my own religion very well, despite trying to.
As I understand it, to enter God's Kingdom one must die (in a metaphorical sense) and be reborn (in the spiritual sense). By "God's Kingdom" I mean living in Christ today, not in any hereafter.
"He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it." Matthew 10:39
The losing is like a dying of Self, along with an abandonment of one's worldly idols. "Self" is the modern totem and object of psychological and material worship, so that part is fairly difficult for me and, I assume, for all of us. A sort of suicide, or partial suicide. Displeased as I tend to be with my self, I am sort of attached to the old darn thing too. "Self," "identity," individuality," - all that current narcissistic "special Me" psychobabble.
I know I am making it all too black and white, as if we could ever not be who we are, or become like the zombie Moonies in the subway stations. But Jesus understood very well that devotion to self was an obstacle to a connection with God.
The Christian offer is to kill off one's self and to be reborn in Christ to live a Kingdom life. The endeavor is not for sissies.
From Matthew 12:
Leave my ship and my father? Can we discuss this, Jesus? And from Luke 9:
The tension between the practical, material world and the Kingdom is ever-present, and all rationalizations for loving this world as I often do sound like convenient and self-justifying cop-outs to me. Thus, I am unfit. Therefore, I require grace.
Related, I saw that Anchoress had been dealing with some of these same issues.
Posted by Bird Dog in Our Essays, Religion at 11:44 | Comments (13) | Trackbacks (0)
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Speaking of grace, see this: http://js-pastor.blogspot.com/2011/03/punishment-joke.html#comments
Very well put, preacher.
And I always appreciate your Sunday scripture postings, even though I rarely comment. Just wanted you to know.
Thanks, so much. Again. I love Maggie's Farm, everyday. This is an echo of Big Al's comment.
Nicely done. Putting it in black & white for me gives my faith (for lack of better words) a foundation - something I can always go back to &, whether I like it or not, see how far I've strayed.
Matthew 12 has always inspired me whenever someone brings up following Christ. I have alot of struggles in my life, but His come-as-you-are-&-we'll-deal-with-your-problems-in-time invitation to me destroys the notion that you need to clean up your act beforehand. If I myself were able to do that, I really doubt that I would need Him in my life to begin with.
class factotum's link is hilarious. Even though I can't find it in the Bible, I know Jesus laughed. And I'm sure quite a bit.
Another way to think of it: you accept Jesus as your Lord. This nothing person. This peasant in Palenstine 2000 years ago who died an ignominious death. If he is your Lord, then it changes everything. We are so used to our lords being our social betters, our leaders, the rich.
Instead, I accept as my Lord a nothing person who preached the word of God. Just another way to look at it. I started to think about the phrase "My Lord Jesus Christ" this Lent.
Good, Bird Dog.
Although it's sentimental, the Donovan soundtrack version of the life of St. Frances ("Brother Sun, Sister Moon") is always good at jolting me out of my preoccupation with cool material possessions or my aggressive impulses when reading the "Outrage of the Day" on the net. Frances' prayer, tho cliched by now, is still awesome.
Then reading Bonhoeffer every Lent helps smack me upside my head and out of my selfish preoccupation with camera equipment or family and job...
When Christ calls a man (or woman), He calls Him (or her) to die...Yikes. It's not for the faint of heart.
Altho one has to be careful with this message with impressionable, potentially self-destructive depressed young people. Just as (when I worked in ministry with abused young children in a hospital) we were not allowed to talk about Heaven, lest they decide it was preferable to the miserable family situations that had landed them there, and commit suicide.
Mostly one sees this in those misguided Islamic suicide bombers manipulated by their scummy handlers. But there's also a certain kind of Christian that chooses downward mobility, rejects work and society, denies their own potential, takes foolish risks in a state of despair rather than faith.
I rather like Patton's words about war and how you shouldn't die for your country, but make sure your enemy dies for his. (forget the exact quote). Better for us to live for God and beat Satan down under our feet. Because, tho Jesus wanted us to die to selfishness and sin and our old miserable angry hateful selves, He also told us "I am come that ye might have life, and have it more abundantly..."
I take issue with your understanding of "Self."
We humans create a Potemkin village "Self" to be viewed by the world and much troubles ensue because we identify with that artificial self. This becomes our god. We spend enormous time and energy defending that self, and this fiction can only be maintained if we only view reality as how it should be rather than how it truly is.
Christ is saying you must give up this all consuming artificial self-image in order to find your true self. Instead of losing yourself, you find yourself. You gain your true identity, and you truly become a whole individual.
Furthermore, only by losing it to gain Christ, not by replacing it with different false god, will you gain yourself.
I don't think anyone truly understands. All the discussion and disagreements show the lack of understanding.
We all require grace.
--just as a thought experiment --really about the meaning of the word 'supernatural' and the meaning of 'miracle' --
...a man went willingly, as an example and a symbol, to be killed in the worst --most painful, humiliating, and lingering --form of execution the police state could devise. While he hung there from a cross, broken, bleeding, dying, he exclaimed "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do". How supernatural does this need be? If God is but the thought of God, as in the gnostic dream, have we not witnessed miracle enough?
but maybe part --the holy spirit --has to ''be'' somewhere, where else but in the mind?
Holy Ghost will help yall figure it outbut isn't limited by time and space as he is God.
Holy Trinity is limitless.
When becoming born-again Catholic me pastor, FR. Bob would often say, "Our redemption is a process."