Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.
Let us NOT judge one another…
Now, how does this work? How does this fit in with the greater sweep of Scripture? Are we to be judging yet also not judging simultaneously? The first, and most important issue that we consider when interpreting a Bible verse is the context. The context of this verse is the argument and the situation between “weaker” and “stronger” brothers in the Lord. The issues that are being discussed are non-moral issues, or issues that don’t have a clear Biblical ruling. There is an issue of the heart here.
Often times, as humans, we are jealous of others who do what we do. This can apply to work situations where two people who do the same job at a company dislike each other because of the sneaking suspicion that the other fellow may be better at it. Another example of this is why friendships among the “pretty” and the “popular” are often quite shallow: they are burdened with jealousy. Sadly, because of our active Sin Nature we can very easily see this pop up in our hearts towards other believers. Other people with our same spiritual gifts, or even simply just others who seem to have a special walk with the Lord, may offend our delicate sensibilities right at the point of the depths of our insecurity, causing us to dislike, reject, or judge them. We may even try to make things more difficult for them, and we may use the most pious and self-righteous façade to do it. How many “prayer requests” are used as a platform to share slanderous gossip? Obviously one is too many.
Be a Friend, be a Fan, be a Brother
This gives us a new and beautiful picture of our relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to be rooting for them, helping them and moving them along. Thus we find that where are heart is, and how well the person is known can dictate the right action. Think of the dearest and closest person to you in a relational sense. If you found out that that person was doing something that hurt them would it not be the loving thing to act, and then help to restore? If the person, however, really liked a food that you found disgusting you would say nothing (nothing seriously, anyway) because you love them so much that the petty, non-moral issues look like nothing in the eyes of your love for them. You are rooting for them and welcome their idiosyncrasies. The person you hate offends you by breathing. The person you don’t know offends you with their horrible taste in music. But with the person you love you will sit through a whole movie that you would otherwise have hated, just because they love it and you love them. If we loved our brothers and sisters in Christ as we ought to, would we even bother trying to judge them about the peripheral issues? If jealousy and pride weren’t ruling our heart would we care that they weren’t keeping our set of extra-scriptural rules? If smugness weren’t the dominating factor in our personality would we need to show them how stupid their extra-biblical rules are? Or would we all just be so consumed with spurring one another on towards Christ that we may not even notice?
Monday, September 14, 2009
She was born onto bony knees. Though from a perspective she was caught by a professional whose function was to catch babies, she was actually born onto bony knees catching her. To be born upon that lap was to be claimed by its owner, as all of her kind were. The same bony kneed personage whipped the girl’s mother and brought a cruel kiss of fleshy lips to hard and crooked teeth. The kiss was bitter but the transition sweet. Sad to end the Dance, but glad to see Reality.
The girl was cradled by the bony kneed specter, so pretty and so soft, he nearly kissed her there and then, and let her only memory of the Dance be the dance of the rocking arms of people who had Danced for many years. But the time was not right, and he was not allowed.
Through the years where the gifts of locomotion and loquacity are acquired the Dance continued. Haltingly, stumbling, many times she pitched forward and nearly crashed her lips to his by accident. But more than chance commanded the Music to continue.
Moving to the three beats of the Music she learned to step, to step, to step and to follow the lead and avoid the kiss. She learned to fear the kiss and love the Dance. Sometimes she wondered if the fear of the kiss drove the dance altogether, because the kiss was the only way out of the dance. It must not drive the dance. There is no nobility in denying the kiss, no beauty in dancing from the place of fear. So she danced on, seeking to dance beautifully.
The tempo advanced and increased in is speed and intensity. The dance became rough and her partner abusive. Whipping her around spins and turns, wrenching her arms and legs, leaving her sore and gasping, begging for respite. The rough dance left her wondering if she could not learn to love the kiss, wondering if it were wrong to ask the Choreographer to pencil the kiss in a little sooner in the score. The dance would go on, after all. But just as the steps seemed unbearable and she was about to tumble from her feet to the ground, the music slowed and the tempo changed again.
Wondering why she must Dance with this hideous partner she looked to the Composer. As she danced along He showed her the Sheets that preceded her page. There were many. As she studied the ancient music she saw that the Composer, Choreographer and Musician had planned a perfect Dance with music that would never end, but not static and unchanging, rather it was ever increasing. The Music would grow louder and louder, climb higher and higher without end.
However, one of the butlers wanted a chance to compose. He wrote his twisted tunes and raunchy melodies and offered them to the original Dancers. If they Danced to His melody, they would soon be able to write their own. They did. His melody came with a partner. The slender partner looked beautiful for a moment and then faded into the gaunt figure that the girl recognized as the man who caught her on the day of her birth.
The Composer was heartbroken as his beloved Dancers chose another melody to dance to. And the Choreographer prepared to dance with the gaunt man and swallow his bitter kiss, drinking it to the dregs. The Composer wrote the music for Dancers to once again transition back to the dance for which He had made them. All they had to do is trust the Choreographer in his claim have Danced, and take the Steps He would have.
Why, if this ghoul had been drained of his power could she not simply dance with the Choreographer? The grasp of the fiend that held tight to her hand, though he had no power, could not be removed from her body without the kiss. The consequence remained, though the penalty was paid. But there was no longer any reason to fear the kiss, it meant only that the dance with the specter was over and the dance with the choreographer begun. The haunting image of her born partner seemed to fade and she saw only the loving Choreographer and Composer as she once again danced to the Music. Meanwhile, her partner continued to try to return to the waltz that he had written, but he could only make her dance to his beats when she stopped reading the Score, stopped Listening to the Music, and stopped watching the Choreographer. So the Dance went on.
Another danced near her. The Choreographer had clearly planned for them to Dance together. They danced near each other. They danced and danced. The kiss again became something to fear. As they continued to dance closer and closer in the circles of the Choreographer the composer added new notes and soon there were new dancers. Each of them was dancing with the same gaunt partner in their tight circles. Sometimes closer and sometimes farther. The Choreographer was pleased and gave notice to the Composer that the crescendo was near.
The Music took on dissonant tones. Screeches and shrieks that could hardly be borne by the ear. Like the sound of crushing metal, and screeching brakes. Her unwanted partner whipped and tore at her, but she saw only the Choreographer walking out onto the dance floor. As the fiend tore her body and finally curled her into his arms and smashed her fleshy lips into his cruel grin. She passed through him to the Choreographer’s hand. She was spun to a dip and raised. He bowed and she curtsied to the thunderous applause of the countless onlookers who were, until this moment, quite invisible to her eyes. She considered the old Dance, she saw the purpose of every strain, how every attempt to destroy it had been used to propel it. And she gazed lovingly at the Choreographer who smiled and nodded to the conductor. And the Dance went on.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
I have been told that I was born some year too late. Is it a sin to wish you lived in a different time? I suppose it depends how hard you wish, how much it distracts you from enjoying the days that you have been given. Yet I can't help this special little envy. I want to live in a time before all of the technological advances. I want to live in a time when I could smoke my pipe in-doors. I want to live in a world where books, music and thought can be discussed over glasses of dark glasses of beer and when there were places for men that women respected, and places for women that men respected. I think there is a beauty to the separation between the sexes, the mystery grows, we can't harbor the modern illusion that we are all the same. What stupidity. Of course we are the same in many ways, two halves of a whole, but if the two halves of your body tried to act like eachother you wouldn't so much as be able to walk.