Curious

I have a small following from my blogs, but I have an wide reach in the world I believe, it is a 50-50 ratio of people in the US and the rest of the world. I would like to hear from the ‘rest of the world’ followers in what seems to be the ‘important’ issues that are being discussed or being a sticky point with people?

This is an exercise for me on how around the world the topics of Christianity is the same or different in its reality with the people inside of it. I am interested in the dynamics of christianity around the world in the scheme of things. I would like to experience the differences of what, why, the paradigm that they are in. I believe that the ‘Western Church’ is ‘different’ or on its own mission.

So, please help me ‘see’ and know the other christianity around the world!

Share your own story of religion,church, christianity to me! I will cherish all that do! Thanks

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Body of Christ

What is it??

There have been alot descriptions that I have heard coming from the pulpit, from people, from books, and from just weird analogies.

I believe that we have used some normal tendencies of what we would try to call the physical one of using the human body as the model of Christ. But this somehow seems to be deficient in its actual example of Christ. I think this is because we use the example of the body having so many parts to it to coincide with our quoting a favorite verse in Ephesians 4:11 “And his gifts were that some should be apostles,some prophets,some evangelists, some pastors and teachers.”

What we have to remember is that this statement is coming from a ‘human,flesh’ way of our ‘being’ in the world. Is this what God is trying to do in our world? Is He trying for us to be ‘good’ christians, to be the answer to everyone’s problems? Or is there something more, different, or Spiritual?

What we also must ‘see’ in this statement when it is used, is it’s context. There are only three words in this phrase. But if we look at it ‘let’s say back words’ we might ‘see’ it. Christ is not only the ‘Head’ of the Body, He is all the Body!! Colossians 3:11 says “Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian,Scythian,slave,free man, but Christ is all and in all.

Christ is all and in all. Just trying to put a picture to this, it would look like to me that Christ’s Body’s essence is also Him. We are to be Christ. Of the Spirit.

What I see in God’s portraying of his ‘renewing’ of man in our pews or speaking,teaching, or portraying in our mission statements, is not what is said in the scriptures. It was the spirit, that was changed in the garden, therefore it is the Spirit that God is restoring in man at the Cross. All things are new, in Christ’s Resurrection, Man’s Spirit is not only New But it is Christ’s Spirit, the Creator of the World.

By understanding this Epiphany of Christ, we should or we have to shed alot of the same things that hold us back from this picture. Nothing else matters, God wants us back in the fold, his child, his heirs, his people!

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Productive Year

Reading is my ‘middle name’. Ok, not really.

I love to learn. I don’t have a set number of pages to read per year, but I do have certain books that I set out each year to read, depending on the size of the books that I can fit in for the year. The books that I have read this year as follows:

The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Vol1-1000 pages

The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Vol 2-1000 pages

The Idea of Israel in Second Temple Judaism 348 pages

Kingdom through Covenant 904 pages

Reversing Hermon 331 pages

Jesus as the fulfillment of the Temple in John 300 pages

Jesus thru middle eastern eyes 443 pages

I am finishing up Josephus the last few months this year, which will add 600 more pages. It seems that almost read 5,000 pages this last year.

I enjoy the learning of each subject or theme of a book, or a OT Pseud.(alot of unfinished material, or excerpts of things to get something from them) But there is always something to ‘see’ in all of the material.

I am trying to narrow my interests in subject matters for books, it is really,really hard, but I am down to maybe four that I will now concentrate on. I am always getting side tracked with a conversation with someone and I will devote some time to flush my knowledge and research out to see and know the topic. (As we all should do, when confronted with a subject of the bible whether new or old.)

I will probably do some research on my four subjects of interest, on further study and go from there. I intend to give myself some time to gather some of my thoughts on these matters and write them down for my clarity and usage for sharing.

I am excited to get next year started on this. But what I am always writing,speaking, sharing with anyone that I expound on, is it is apart, or it is the “The Eternal Purpose” of God that will be the true focus of all that I do or share. I wish all of you to also reflect on what is God’s will in the Bible? With any story or beginning, it has to be the “Beginning of the Story” that exemplifies the thought of what the Author or God is trying to do, not the literal one, but the Analogy of what God is doing!

Let’s all look at Genesis 1-2, What is God’s plan? How is He going to restore His Plan?(Hint: its in Revelation 21-22.)

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Brother, lend me your ear

I find it worrisome, that many of our brethren(sisters,too) are afraid of being,talking, or discussing theology, if it is not of the same theology as theirs.

Any bible reading person knows that this is so wrong in so many ways.

But my question is “Why”?

Are we not led to ‘listen’ to our fellow man,christian, or non-christian for wisdom to their ears?

I find this sorta ironic when someone is stern with the coming of the christians to a building to discuss God, but you cannot on the ‘outside’ of the walls of the building!

It is in this “Evangelical” crowd(which seems to be fading, good!) that has always pushed the ‘witnessing’ of people to the inth degree, that has baffled me, in their earnestness of accomplishing this knowledge.

I am, I think one of very few(at least, around me) that loves talking bible,God, eternal purpose with anyone, anytime, and anywhere. I have picked this ‘fun’ thing to stimulate me in the ways of the Lord in the past 20 years. My thirst for ‘wisdom’ has been thru the bible, videos,talks,lectures, blogs, in-person, youtube, and alot of books(the # changes weekly,lol)

I sometimes wonder, if the average christian is thinking,searching God on a daily basis? I do not see it as a burden or stupid or just weird, I see it as “getting to know my God as personally as I can”.

How often do you spend with God?

How do you spend time with God?

Can your friends tell you are different in asking,searching, studying or reading about God?

Give me some feedback on how and what you do to get closer to God?

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Every Generation

I follow alot of people, either by email,blog,websites, text,facebook,youtube,authors, or video. One that I follow is N.T. Wright, that I have alot of his books. I also watch alot of his talks,sermons, or Q and A sessions.

One of the things that I have always remembered from a talk he had was that “Every person,christian or not, will evaluate his present condition, and decide if it is the one that he is content in”(paraphrased) This is what every generation of people are faced with when they stand up to their life and life beliefs.

I had not even thought about this, until it was happening to me. I started to questioning my beliefs, my institution, my lifestyle, and my faith. When this came about, my “reconstruction” was with the institution of the “Church”, what was it, what does it look like, what does it do? and was it what I was experiencing.This was my starting point. Biblical exegesis is what I started to delve myself into over 12+ years ago. It has not let up in my studying,reading, and soaking everything in thru reading the Word. Recently I have expanded my portfolio of reading by reading the Apochrapha, Pseudepigrapha,Old Sea Scrolls, and Josephus, with the near future will starting the adventures of Jewish literature.

What we must realize in reading the scriptures is that the more we understanding not the ‘stories’ but the theme or more importantly the “Paradigm” of the Bible,God’s Word for His Eternal Purpose. We sometimes forget to ‘See’ the forrest, because we are in front of a 90′ Redwood, that we think is the entire forrest. Nope. God’s story is the whole forrest. It is a narrative from Genesis thru Revelation.

I have personally witnessed people that are still standing in front of that Redwood and think this is all there is of God and they are proclaiming that ‘tree’ is God, or that tree is what God wants us to believe in, and only that tree. This is so wrong. At so many levels.

Maybe, Just maybe this is what the problem is in christianity, everyone is standing in front of their own Redwood proclaiming that the answer to God is their redwood! Oh My! We need to step back, way way back to see the whole forrest and God’s design of His World for His people, and His place of Rest and come to the realization that it is bigger than they thought!

I will almost say that it is actually easier than everybody thinks it is. What if we just did the verses below:

2 Corinthians 13:14 (RSV)
14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Galatians 2:20 (RSV)
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Nothing else matters.

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Time for the “Book Review”

The book most recently read was entitiled “The Idea of Israel in Second Temple Judaism” by Jason A. Staples.

I would highly recommend this book for the clarity of the terms for “Israel”,”Jew” and “Hebrew”. I would also recommend any book about this subject, you would be surprised by how some things in the scriptures will clear up for you when reading things.

This is another example, where we can get ourselves going down the wrong road with our ‘asuming’ definition of something and you find out the statement you say, is not factual. There are many things as christians that we mean to go back and do some research on terms, definition, stories, paradigms, allegory,literal, types, metaphors, and parables! I recommend that we all do it!

Staples does a very good job of detailing what the people, inside and outside of ‘Israel’ , What prophets meant by their usage of each word, and when it changed to a subset of one, or vica versa. It was very informative to the understanding of even within the ‘Jewish’ community in which they were apart of. Within these three definitions of this said ‘group’ it would change when an event happened to one or all of the group. Depending on when the word Israel was used in could be meaning just the northern tribe, or it could mean both the northern and southern tribe, Judah. This was used in knowing of the original setup, but also of the reuniting of them both in the eschatology of Israel, and their prophets.

A added bonus of this book, was a subset of a theme that was carried out in the telling of the story of these three terms. It was the underlining story of the “Covenant Theology” laced throughout the telling and believing ‘Israel’ that they would ‘all’ be brought back together as one. It is this, that brought me even more assured on what covenantal Theology of God’s desires for All to be “ONE”.

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New Focus

Aimlessly walking I was.

As a good bible reader, I was all over the place in my searching, researching,learning, and just nit-picking my way thru the bible.

But I have found my niche, finally.

I have been asking my self, should I try to focus on 3 or more of different themes that I was currently interested in or should I really focus on one thing. And if I did, what would it be?

Through my various journeys of traveling thru different avenues of the bible, I believe that I have found the one that actually could be said to be the foundation of all the other themes that I had been studying. So the New Focus for me will be in the Old Testament Era (yes, this not what I expected either) the “2nd Temple Era”!!

I have thru my studies come across a what I believe is a very foundational aspect of the scriptures, that what I had thought was being used as a foundation of theology, wasn’t it seems to those that I have either talked to,listened thru sermons, or blogs of various authors(to my surprise)! I will weave this foundational premise or paradigm into the studies of the “2nd Temple Era” study. I hope we can do this maybe in a Chronological order but if things dictate that we skip ahead or even go back to relook at something to have it fit in to the whole story, we will.

Just for those who don’t know when the 2nd temple era was, it was ‘586 bc to 70 ad. Let me know if you have questions or comments on anything we talk about. Discussion is good, and most importantly it is learning and forming our minds to God.

Let us begin our Journey!!

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Where is God?

This is not the story of searching, where you see God in the World, but something different.

The relevance of this piece is rather unique in that it will show us what the ‘Temple’ is, and all the story behind it.

As an ‘after the fact’ observer when we read the beginning of the creation of the World by God, we really don’t understand the nuances of what God is doing. Sure, he is building this big blue marble with water, land,sky,trees,birds,animals,rivers,lakes,grass,sun,moon,planets surrounding it in the sky. What is the significance of it? God makes it for some people that he will create to live on the planet. It is what we would now call it “Heaven on Earth”*. We will come back to this later.

If we follow the story of Genesis 1-2, we will also notice that God’s creation is perfect for man and for God. So much, that God lives with Adam and Eve, walking, talking with each other all day long. They are in the Garden of Eden, Where man and God are together.

Now, let us fast forward a little ways in the story, we know the transgression of adam and eve, that creates mankind to go astray. It is when God brings together His people called “Israel’ and unites them together as one and then gives them instructions to help them stay God’s people by setting up a place for them to give their sacrafices for their transgressions to God as individuals, and as the group “Israel”, and even the High Priest sacrifice was given in this ceremony.

The High Priest was ‘one of one’ that could even be ‘Holy’ enough to ‘be’ with God in this room called ‘Holy of Hollies’, This was the only place in the entire world that God was touching in his ‘being’ and presence on the earth. It was because of man’s transgression, that God was now only a pinpoint in the world, instead with his creation in a garden.

Although this setup of a Temple, for the Israel kingdom was one for just Israel, It was actually a microcosm of the original one that God had created in the beginning of time. This was/is the blueprint of God’s Kingdom. But let’s clarify something here, before some get lost in their thinking. What God is showing us very special. Even tho I have described this large, glorious and splendid Temple that was in Jerusalem at one time. The majority of the Temple was used for giving of sacrifices and all that went with it.

There was a Portico, a place for semi-large congragating to talk and discuss religious things before going into ‘Holy of Hollies’ , which only the High Priest was able to go into. This “Space”, is actually the space that we can compare or use as the illustration of the ‘Temple’, the ‘place’ where God abides. Another illustration would be the use of ‘Clouds and Fire’ to lead Israel on their way for a journey. He was ‘with’ His people. Their are many examples of this in the scriptures, to show the Lord’s presence with man.

This space in the temple, was limited in size and people, one person in a room of 20 cubits squared. Small and limited to say the least in where God was.

It wasn’t until Christ resurrection that things changed. Christ’s New life and Kingdom was now established, albeit in different and totally new way. The curtain was rent from Heaven, signaling that ‘All’ would be able to be in the same place with Him, for He is now in the world for all mankind. God would not only leave this small and confining space but He would ‘go’ and be with man again in his creation. This is the story of a ‘full circle’ paradigm, that God does not change his plans for anything.

This plan of creation for his creatures, ‘all of his creatures’,man,animal,creation,heavens’ will again be back together. This scenario is one that is lost in our process of ‘learning’ things of the scriptures, but it is a major one to ‘see’ what God is doing.

God’s ‘picture’ of the Garden of Eden is one of Creator and Creation together as One.

If you can, try watching a short video by ‘The Bible Project’ group that shows this exact paradigm in a video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zy2AQlK6C5k&t

God’s ‘church’ or people are one and the same. We are God’s. We are one, in Spirit,Mind and Truth.

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My Top Ten List

I have not put out my top list in awhile, since I have read a few more books since last time! LOL That goes without saying! Ha.

So Here Goes-

  1. From Eternity to Here by Frank Viola
  2. Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright
  3. Love Wins by Rob Bell
  4. Paul and the Faithfulness of God by N.T. Wright
  5. Kingdom through Covenant by Peter J. Gentry/Stephen J Wellum
  6. Paul and Palestinian Judaism by E.P. Sanders
  7. The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle by Albert Schweitzer
  8. Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet/Frank Viola
  9. Galatians(Commentary) by N.T. Wright
  10. A Larger Hope? by Ilaria L E Ramelli

So, What do you think? Have you read any of these? What is your Top Ten Christian List?

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I had a revelation.(Again)

Well, I have been on a hiatus of sorts. I have been busy with a vacation, a motherly visit from mom and a ponderace of what my desire is, in the last three weeks. But I am back and a ready to go again.

Revealations are funny. They can be good or they can be bad. And sometimes they just come to you by the most awkward time, make you just sit there and let you just talk to yourself, and I would be just in amazement, in my revelation.

I have talked and written the same old things and told people that I read. Alot. My library is full of books of all kinds of topics of Christianity. But what else I have in my library, are bibles, different sizes, colors, shapes, and versions. I have read the whole bible thoroghly maybe 5 times. Now I don’t know if this has any barring on my revelation, but it might.

I am a product of a pastor’s life and home. I am a preacher’s kid. I have heard the “Word” all my life. Either on purpose, or just hearing it throughout my childhood. My ‘learning’ the bible has I think for me has been an ‘internal’ one. What I mean by that, it has been one where I have put the pieces together of everything biblical understanding in my head. I never ‘preached’, talked, or whispered my beliefs per se to anyone. Until about 15 yrs ago.

It is when at this time, I noticed what I had in my head, was not what the ‘local’ church was ‘preaching’! It was something different. There was no meaning to it. No direction. No life. I had questions, more than answers to the message that had shared with me. I was questioning everything with my response of “Why”?

I had queries of the local ministry, of multiple subjects and of even more importantly were the answers that they were giving. I then expanded my questioning of not just the ‘local’ church, but also to the denomination of said church, to see if it was adhering to ‘their’ beliefs. It was a journey to see that the last two ‘denominations’, which were very much alike in their beliefs, were very much ‘saying’ and ‘preaching’ the same thing. I had one of those ‘aha’ moments. It was then that I even expanded more to ‘other’ denominations of christianity to see what ‘they’ were ‘preaching’. It was then, that things or ‘beliefs’, or understandings of the Bible story started to unravel for me, it was an eye-opening moment(not my newest revelation) to realize that there was an different ‘format’ which everyone was using to ‘preach’ the quote ‘message'(gospel). This intrigued me.

It was then, that I realized that not only the message was off, but it was being done in the wrong format. The ‘format’ that I had swirling in my head, did not match the things that I was seeing at the local or denominational level. It was a cookie-cutter model in which it was obviously not working in which it was to be designed.

Let me explain something that might be confusing in what I said. What I was ‘hearing’ and being ‘preached’ to me in my early years of youth and the early adulthood, was my hearing and understanding the ‘storyline’ of the bible was ‘not’ what was being explained or ‘preached’ from my pew seat. Even tho, most of my life’s pew sitting was with my father in the pulpit. I was not ‘seeing’ what most people were ‘hearing’. It was being stored up in my knowledge bank for a complete expounding at a latter time. It was about 15 yrs ago that it finally came out.

I believe that thru all this ‘seeing’ and ‘hearing’ things from various viewpoints that I have seen various things in the scriptures that just don’t add up to the ‘Message'(Gospel). It is then, that I felt like I needed to start saying things to people, thru blogs and random thoughts on social media, to get things rolling with people(christians) to double check their beliefs and their structure in the bible and God. What was the Bible really about? I have had my desenters in my take on my ‘seeing’ things different, than their views, but this was to be expected. The rut that christians have been in, is the cause, and the effect, of being ‘a sunday christian’.

The bible doesn’t say that.

It is so much more. It is a story. It has a storyline that is told in a narrative of God’s people, and their journey thru the annals of time. What is key to this story is the beginning, and the end! They are the same. This should be a clue to us! Every mystery book reader knows this!

It is in this storyline of God’s plan that has befuddled christianity(IMO) and it is not just coming from me, their are other people or groups that are ‘preaching’ this. Narrative stories are designed to ‘tell a story’, ‘tada’! LOL. In this narrative, God is not only telling an historic story but a story of everlasting meaning. This is where I will use a statement that always needs to be said. “The Bible is not written ‘for’ us, but ‘to’ us.! So what this should tell us is that these scriptures from God have to have meaning for alot of generations of people and years of social change to understand it.

It is here that we have change our ‘understanding’ of the scriptures. To express God’s eternal purpose, he has to change it so ‘everyone’ will ‘see’ the meaning and ‘truth’ of his desire. God uses different methods of doing this. God uses ‘types’, ‘symbols’, ‘imagery’, ‘foreshadowing’, ‘metaphors’ and ‘Allegory’.

It is allegory that has been missed in the ‘churches’ hearing in the scriptures.

This is where ‘one’ of my latest ‘revelations’ of the christianity’s downfall has been a glaring feeblemindness. Not ‘seeing’ Allegory in the scriptures. Maybe, just maybe it will come to us, when we have the ‘mud’ wiped off of our ‘eyes’ that we may see it.

The ‘revelation’ that I am saying is that the ‘story’ of the Israelites of being God’s people of Israel, and their subsequent disobedience of ‘worshipping’ Him, by being banished to ‘Egypt'(Babylon,the world), is the allegoric story of mankind as a ‘whole’ that has ‘left’ God for their own ways(worldly), and are now slaves to it. It is then that God pulls his people back to him so that ‘they'(mankind) can worship ‘their’ God.

Exodus 9:13 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and say to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ” Let my people go, that they may serve Me.

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