Everyone but Jesus is Insane...

When I was a kid I don't hink I ever could have imagined the world that has been given to me now that I am in my middle 40's.

Just today there was a picture of two men holding hands on the front page of the St. Paul Pioneer Press with the usual gushing comments on the annual Gay Pride Parade. Further along in the paper there were the usual bits of rage and darkness and exploitation and fluff. In my weaker moments I can see why some folks are all worked up about the end of the world. It has been the end of the world I expected for some time now.

And just when you think it can't get any lower someone take's out a shovel and begins to dig. Why is Paris Hilton a celebrity and why is it important that I watch her every move on TV?
And I think that if I see one more ad for a medicine to cure erectile dysfunction I'll vomit.

Some mornings I wake up and think that aliens have come and stolen by body and placed me in a weird world where nothing makes sense as some sort of sick experiment. Other times I pray that this is all a dream and I wake up back in Wausau and I'm still 12 years old. I'd almost be willing to redo adolescence just for that to be true.

But sadly none of it is. I'm here, this is real, and there's no way to go around it, above it, or below it; only through it. And because of this I have come to the conclusion that on some level the world is insane and always has been and it seems worse now because the insanity has 24 hour television networks and PR guys, and marketing folks, and a desire to out its every nuance into everyone's face all the time.

And I grown more convinced that Jesus was the only sane person who ever lived, the only one who could see through the BS, read between the lines, get the big picture, and not be touched by it all except once and then only because it was necessary to bring the whole thing crashing to the ground for the sake of love.

If I'm going to be even anywhere near sane I'm going to need to find a way to hold tight, stick close, become like, and hang around Christ. Period. End of sentence. Otherwise its just a matter of going from hell to hell and that's a fate worse than death.


Bad news, time is on our side...

Time is on our side and that's bad news in the sexual revolution.

Its not hard to surmise that we live in a culture where any urge becomes a need and then a civil right and an obligation on society to accomodate and promote the fulfilling of it. Perhaps no place has this mentality taken hold in a greater way then sexuality.

In some places the "shock troops" of this mentality have been the crusaders for gay marriage which isn't about marriage at all but rather about the state intervening in the greater culture and making the sexuality that drives it the legal equivalent of all others with the potential for sanctioning in law those who in conscience disagree. But its bigger than that.

Nothing of gay marriage could have any kind of momentum at all if the larger culture had not already come to the conclusion that sexuality is a consumer product, a "thing" that as long as it involves another or more who consent is a thing like anything else. One can pick and choose among the sexualities one has a right to and under the guise of privacy the larger culture and especially those who may disagree with one's choices have no right to interfere.

But the reality is that sexuality is more than a consumer choice, and act in a moment between people who agree to participate. Sexuality has repercussion for the greater whole and we are slowly beginning to face them.

Disease related to sexuality are skyrocketing. Relationships are collapsing. Families are dislocated. Hearts are broken. People are dying. All facts still under the media's radar screen but soon too large even for the proponents of this new order to ignore.

Some day people will embrace a traditional Christian sexual morality not because they want to but because they have to or they will get sick and die. While some may shout "Yes!" that's actually a sad thing because it will be a matter of desperation and not choice, an embrace built of pain and not love.

Along the way to that time there will be more pain, more suffering, more dislocation, more thinking that we exist above the laws of nature with the resulting death. No Christian should have joy in that, especially those of us who have been rescued from our own selves and know these things in a way the innocent (thank God) will never have to face.

In this all we discover that we don't wrestle against flesh and blood, as the Apostle Paul says, but against the greater forces, the demonic ones, that trap people in an endless cycle of searching for a pleasure that never comes and robs its victims not only of their bodies but their souls as well.

Until sanity returns that is where we must stand and fight.


On the death of Zarqawi...

I have to say that when the news of the bombs falling on Zarqawi and his spiritual advisor and companions hits the news part of me immediately said "Alllllllright, couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy!"

I'm a product of my culture and he and his compatriots represented evil acts of a kind that civilization simply can't tolerate (It has been reported that he took more than five minutes to sever one victim's head). It is true that his being gone will probably make the world a better place.

But then my second thought came, a kind of sorrow over the human condition in general that from among us such a person would spring and also the sense of what awaits him in the eternity to come.

Barring some kind of last minute transformation our Christian world view says that a perpetuity of time in complete brokenness from God awaits the unrepentant. We call it "hell" and the picture images of the Scriptures and Tradition paint a very bleak picture of it. It is not my task to assign final destinies but if such is the state of Zarqawi there is the double pain of betrayal by his belief and facing the consequences of that betrayal. Surely this would be a profoundly horrible thing.

So while his passing into death sadly makes a positive difference inthe world I still mourn, not him, not his terrible acts, but the deep broken state of a world that could produce, and still produces, such people. I pray to God, as well, that I never become such a man myself.


Posted on 6/06/06...

So today is 6/06/06, you know the day of the 666 of legend and lore and the book of Revelation and all that.

I grew up with the people who invented that most tiresome of heresies "dispensationalism" and although there were, and are, many admirable qualities of the Plymouth Brethren that was not one of them.

Utterly unhinged from anything like the historic faith of the Church "dispensationalism" has been the bane of modern Evangelical Protestant life, its proponents doing more damage to the life and faith of Christians than any secular conspiracy could have ever accomplished.

Some of it is bizarre like the obsession with 666 and the identity of the "beast" the "anti-christ" mentioned in a single verse of Revelation. Who is he? What is he? The theories abound and ranged from the reasonable, like Adolph Hitler, to the absolutely wierd like Ronald Wilson Reagan (notice the six letters in each of his names?).

But the worst damage is this.By getting Christians to focus so intently on eschatology (the study of the end of history) they fail to take care of the here and now and miss innumberable opportunities to make the world better and minister to humanity in the name of Christ. Suffering in the world? Hooray it must be the time of tribulations before the "rapture"! Stewardship of the earth? Who cares it's all gonna burn anyway. The needs of souls? Not important because I'm going to hunker down and keep what I have for me and mine and you're on your own. Besides come the "rapture" I'm out of here.

Dispensationalism doesn't edify Christians, it panics them. It doesn't make them mature but rather focuses them on endless speculations while they ignore the very real things outside their own front door. It makes Christians fearful of what should be the most glorious time of the world, the return of Christ, and worst of all it divides Christians from each other through quarrels started about things that even the Apostles did not know.

On this 6/06/06 day it needs to be restated loudly and clearly that the book of Revelation is about hope and triumph and the Lordship of Christ even in the darkest of times. It starts with admonitions to faithfulness and ends with the vision of the glorious city, the way the world will one day be when evil is vanquished and God once again dwells, like in Eden, with His people. As terrible as the beast or the antichrist or whatever or whoever he or it may be it will not stand in the light of the glory of the One who sits on the throne and in the end is as meaningless as the hysteria about this date and that number.