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I believe much has been written about what is called biblical radicality. At places this has been wrong and was inspired by a reading of hebrew and greek scripture that was stuck with the literal as opposed to also considering the further and deeper levels of meaning in scripture. But at places this was quite apt.

I had an experience of that on the weekend. I had been very down and scared of my future and feeling lonely. I missed God and wept and prayed, but yet God would not come to me. I decided to continue trust him, like it says in the psalms at times, to trust God even when our life and heart is failing us.

Eventually it became late evening and I went to bed and slept.

In the morning things were much better. I had true faith again, in the God of goodness, love and mercy who exercises justice and kindness on Earth, like it says in the book of Daniel. It's like just 12 hours ago I felt like wanting to die, and now I am sitting here in faith and reliance on God and even with good feelings in my soul. It just came up, it was like a hill had grown in me and I had become as rocky and tough as Jesus is, or rather, Jesus grew in me again and replaced the feebleness of mine with His strength.

I must say that I am thankful to a particular book I am usually reading when I get tired of religion, Gerry Beauchemin's "Hope beyond hell". It describes a God whose justice is remedial and not simply punitive. Who sees things we do not see and whose ways of love and forgiveness are higher than our ways. This is where sometimes a human might loose it, we see such evil happening and God tells us to keep on loving and praying and believing. The thing is, the lover and the believer keep themselves pure. They can, if they are courageous and bold enough, speak out against the harshness of men in order to create at least for some a new trust in God and humanity.

the good and the evil

Is something evil because it is absolutely and by itself evil, or is something evil because God says it is?

I've recently read something from William of Ockham, an english theologian of the medievals. He argues that God is never obligated to do something. Basically, God would have no "duties" and would not even be obligated by himself. When something is good to do for a human, then only because God has commanded it. And if God were to change his commandment, the matter that once was good would not be good anymore. For example, God said "thou shalt not kill", and that's how killing is evil. But if God were to call us to war and to say, "you shall kill", then killing would be good.

I think this is really a dangerous proposition because it turns God into a very capricious being and it would make Him incredibly proud and we could not say anymore that HE IS LOVE.

But how to formulate a better theology? It is hard to really prove metaphysically why something would be good or evil except by inference from God's principles. Does it make sense to say that God has ideals and that His will is for us, together with Him, to realize these ideals? Is it problematic that it is thus true to say that God needs us men to realize His ideals?

the many metaphors in the bible

I am currently investigating reading the bible, especially the Old Testament, as a work of artistic and spiritual metaphors. This is really eliminating to take the bible literally with all the death threats and the violence.

As an example, take the OT verse of eye for an eye, tooth for tooth, bulge for bulge. In Hebrew, these words have many other meanings than the original one. Basically, this is not about retributive justice but about an enlightened way to find justice. It is about finding the point of views (eye), the matters of disagreement (tooth) and settling them and finding friendship (bulge).

Yes, you can believe it. The Hebrews were not as barbaric at first to cut off hands and gauge out eyes. They, at least at first, believed in an enlightened and philosophical solving of their disputes. Everything was supposed to serve the peace of God.

And there are more examples of that. Sarai means "one who directs" while Sarah means "one who inspires". This is about what is better, should a leader simply boss his subjects around or should he inspire them to ideals?

This is how the OT must be read, especially the Law of Moses which in this way turns from an extremely harsh jurisdicial system to a peaceful and smart social system.

loving God and men

I'm currently in a kind of transition period. I used to treat God as someone I would have to believe in, my relationship to him was between Him as the authority, and me as the loyal subject. I'm not sure I can convey this right but what I was shunning back from was to love God. And I don't know how to do that really, there is a blank space in my mind about this. One could say I often saw myself as a more or less willing servant of God, or soldier in God's army. But lately I am persuaded that this can't be it, majorly because Jesus tells us to approach God as our Father who loves us, as someone we are supposed to love too. But as it is I love other things more than God, my family, my hobbies, my beliefs, etc. I have not yet gotten into the tenderness, the affection for God, the receptiveness to him. Yesterday when I thought about this I actually had to endure an attack by the devil. I saw pictures of sexy women in my mind, and heard the devils voice say, you can be like one of them if you come to me instead of to God. For those who don't know me, I am an "unwilling transgender".

That means, I am transgender although I don't like it. You don't have to worry, it is not that I feel repressed or oppressed, it's just that I experience my transgender side as unfriendly to myself and way too loaded sexually. I really like to enjoy my male gender and I am happy when I don't have to endure my inward false self to project transgender things on me. They only arouse me and in that mood I cannot be reasonable very well. It's not an authentic transsexuality like Susannah here has it. Either way, the devil seemed to use that stuff to tempt me. And God said, love me, rely on love more than loyalty faith. Know that your real self is hidden in me. That also rang a bell in me, that only with God can I actually know myself at all. That is also in a book that I am reading currently, "The Orthodox Way" by Callistos Ware.

I picture loving God as a means to experience the perfect love which according to Apostle John drives out fear. I did have many problems with religion-inspired anxiety and fear. For example, my whole extended family except for my mother is unreligious and enjoys happiness and peace, and there I am as the christian oddball that cannot be happy because I slipped into a version of christianity with harsh doctrines that don't give me life. In my mind I entertain freedom, justice, love, beauty, harmony and all that, but in my body I feel the anxiety and the rebelliousness of the flesh. Callistos Ware says we need to kill our flesh in order to have a body. That is also one of those things I am mulling over since some time. Apostle Paul argued we can kill the flesh with our spirit, but as it turns out we have to do that repeatedly, it's not a matter of getting rid of the flesh for good because it's apparently surviving the spirit's attempts to reign it in and to separate us from it.

How do you love God? How do you escape the meagre theology of being God's servant and slave and not really a recipient of free and intimate divine love?

what faith really is!

Sometimes in christianity faith is made to be our end of the bargain of salvation. We give God faith and he rewards us with salvation. But this is not quite correct, because in a concept like this faith is made like a deed, almost like something from the law.

But instead faith simply means grasping that our salvation has been decided by God already, on the cross, in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul attempted to make this clear in many of his words, but he had to use OT scripture as his material, and in OT scripture the faith things of Christ are not revealed yet so the scriptural material was not as rich as he would have it.

Again, faith does not mean a deed that means so much to God that he would save you. Instead faith taps into the salvation that has already begun, at first in the cross of Christ and then in the life of Christ.

Christ does not mean a change from action things to belief things.Christ means a change from man-focus to a God-focus. Instead of being about what I have done and is thinking (including my faith), it is about what God has done, and is thinking. It is not about my love so much anymore, it is about God's love that loves me and inspires me to love God back. Every event in me of faith and love must be inspired by God's faith and love. He loved us first.

Now there might be someone who expresses no belief in Christ. Since we cannot see Christ we cannot well prove him except by what we have learned, by what we have become in Christ. We ourselves must be little Christ to show what God has made us to be and, most importantly, what God thinks of a man, which are loving and faith and kind thoughts.

What would it mean if God were to hate a man? This is downright senseless that God would hate someone. This big God who created the cosmos and who created us in the wombs of our mothers, why should he hate us? He sent Christ to the cross for us, gave his own son so that we might be saved easily from our sins. We are not innocent but we are declared innocent, not in order to betray truth but to add to truth the loving thoughts of God!

Our faith simply attaches to something that is bigger than our faith. God's free grace and his free love. God looked down on Earth and saw us imprisoned in hatred, sin, evil and hopelessness against the face of death. So he came down and conquered death, and the devil who was a mighty evil angel that had been able to snare us awfully. But Jesus threw him out like it says in John, that it was the judgment that went through the world on the day of vengeance that was Good Friday. Because the devil was really worse than us, even when we were sinful.

And on that Cross Jesus Christ even forgave his murderers. Christ did not love himself on the cross. He did not think of avenging himself. Instead he thought of those who hated him and did not hate them. Instead he said, and he means that for all sinners, "Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing!".

And then, the resurrection! What a wonderful Easter Monday this was. Jesus rose from the dead to show that the forgiveness for all that he had won at the Cross, was not to be a one time thing. He was raised from the dead to show that forgiveness and love were to continue, and if you can trust him, that we humans don't have to fear death anymore and can know that we will live forever in the vast and beautiful realms of Heaven, with this Christ who loves us and has the strength and the love to save us always!

To know these things is faith, and it is more that this faith is part of salvation than that this faith causes salvation. We can know that everyone will find this faith eventually because the salvation of God will not rest until someone has this faith and can bow his knees to God and recognize his lordship. God is a righteous king who wants an earned lordship. He gives us salvation, so we can have faith!

God bless you!

Pope Jorge in New Yorkay

Did anyone else hear the Pope's homily in St. Patrick's tonight?  I was very pleased that his first point was about the gratitude and wonder of each successive encounter we have with the person of the Christ -- and that his second more behavioral point was grounded in the first.


Prayer Request

I have a prayer request for Shrell, a young woman who has uterine cancer. She has a type of cancer that has the potential to be fatal. Also, she has endured 4 chemotherapy treatments, hospitalization, a hysterectomy, pain, and fear.

However, Shrell refuses to quit. She works on her recovery every day. She lets others in her situation know about resources that helped her. She thanks everyone who has given her aid during this stressful period. Whenever she can, she focuses on the positive aspects of her life. Above all, she continues to believe in a merciful God and will not let Satan take her away from Him. Cancer and the devil will be sorry they tried to fight with her!  

Please pray for the healing of this remarkable woman.


Suffering and Gratitude

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Jesus for you." I Thessalonians 5:18

Yesterday during my job break, I planned to take a short, peaceful outdoor walk and enjoy the sunshine. Instead, I fell, badly sprained my ankle, and scraped my hands. The initial pain made me dizzy enough to feel sick. I had to sit down, keep my back straight, and take deep breaths. I also moved my neck from to side and did shoulder shrugs. Then, I felt well enough to go inside, get an ice pack and bandages, and resume office work. Luckily, my position is to answer technical questions for people who call about their computers. So, my job does not require physical exertion.

Still, I have felt really mad at myself and fate! I tripped on a bump in the grass while I walked. The result of my clutzy movements is that at home I have sat with an ice pack on my swollen left ankle. I really cannot do many tasks requiring me to stand without crutches until the swelling decreases. I have bandages on my hands, which I have to keep changing any time I wash my hands.

I don't think I will get completely past my frustration for the present time. However, I don't want to spend all my moments miserable. So, I have tried to think of any positive situations God has brought me during this period of my life. I have listed them below this line.

1. My husband has been supportive. His free day this week is today. He spent most of today helping me with ice packs and household tasks that I could not do. He found the crutches for me.

2. I have a job that I can perform even with bandages on my hands and a sprained ankle. I need no time off work due to my injuries. Furthermore, my coworkers and supervisors have been a good team. One of my supervisors helped me get the first aid kit to take care of my hands.

3. Through my injuries, especially the ankle injury, God has brought me an opportunity to rest. Many times I push myself to keep working on my job and at home even when I am extremely exhausted. My usual work habit tend to make me frazzled.

4. If any one asks how I injured myself, I will be divinely inspired tell them tales about my mountain climbing adventures. I will stress that I climbed uphill both ways! ;) (Hopefully, you realize I am joking about this last point).

Has God brought you hope, help, or inspiration during a difficult time? If so, I would love to hear your story. :)

the bible is a good book

In the last few days I started reading the bible again and I must admit that despite my earlier reservations that this book is really cool. I worship God Himself and not a book, but the bible is really able to guide and help someone provided he knows what he is looking for in this book and doesn't read it as a law book but instead as a book able to lighten the path of grace. And I always need grace, or I get lost in the conflicts and wars of justice and chaos. Grace is the real deal, it seems to me, because grace solves my dilemma of needing a God while being a sinner. Grace allows God to lavish love and mercy on us.

the classical God

In this post I am trying to expound on classical notions of God that I believe have always accompanied us and will not change.

First of all we have God as the supreme being that is Lord over the Cosmos aiming at ruling righteously and governing the affairs of civilizations like man's in a good and prosperous and peaceful order. Our God would be approachable through prayer, church or temple or mosque going, hearing the sermons of the wise and pious and responding to deeds of love and kindness with mostly spiritual rewards.

Then we have Jesus Christ, the blessed child of God who for my christian religion is the great ambassador of God on Earth who spreads a genuine and authentic knowledge of God and who has laid down his own life in order to prove God's kind and harmless side and who rose from the dead in order to show how God has other means than human ones at his disposal when it comes to situations where the normal person just assumes it cannot be changed. This Jesus went to Heaven and declared that his sacrifice is for all men and since that time we have an idea of a positive afterlife for all of us in Heaven as well.

This is what I'd like to call the cornerstone of my theology - God and Jesus as approachable good deities that save us from darkness and despair and set forth light and life filled civilisatory projects.

I think that much of the bible agrees with this notion of God. Allow it to sink into you, we have a good God in Abba and in Jesus Christ and we needn't be afraid.


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