Archive for Religion

Teaching Our Children Well

Recently, a woman posted an article about teaching children to do things that they may not like. Like eating their vegetables, or staying out of traffic. Or going to church. And yes…it’s important to instil in young children the importance of doing things that they may not like. But…I think there are often better ways to do that. Well, here’s part of what SHE said:

“My parents forced me to eat three times a day growing up. No joke. Three times. Every. Single. Day. And it wasn’t always stuff I liked, either. Matter of fact, I complained a lot about what my mom made. “Ewww, gross! Sauteed zucchini? Seriously? Mom, you know we hate this stuff!”

So as I approached adulthood I made an important decision. Since my parents forced me to eat while I was growing up, I decided I was done with meals. Oh, here and there I’ll eat out of obligation. I mean, family traditions like Thanksgiving and Christmas, yeah, I’m there. But daily eating? No way. I’m done.

Set in any other context, excuses people make for not going to church sound completely ridiculous. But set in the context of Christianity, people say these things in all seriousness while others nod sagely in somber agreement.

My son told me a few weeks into school that he didn’t like the teacher. He wasn’t getting excited enough about learning, and he didn’t really feel connected to the other kids in his class, so I told him he never had to go back to school again. Who wants to waste their time going somewhere where they aren’t being fulfilled?

We’ve never forced our daughter to stay off the road when playing. We don’t want to restrict her imagination. We allow her the freedom to make her own choices in life.

Okay, Ruth. Come on. That one was just ridiculous. No loving parent would ever say that. That’s a safety issue- a matter of life and death.

Exactly. And that’s just my point.

Church isn’t a place you go to get pumped up about life. It isn’t entertainment like a movie or concert. It is literally a life and death matter. Eternal life. Just as a loving parent wouldn’t allow their child to wander in the road or to quit school, a loving Christian parent also does not give the option to their children about going to church, learning Bible stories at home, and praying together.

Do your kids always jump for joy when they hear you say, “Time to get up! Let’s get ready for church!” No. They won’t. Do they get excited for school every morning? Hardly. But you still make them go. Why? Because you are the parent and you know what’s best.

Even when they complain, you serve them healthful meals and limit their junk food intake. You set boundaries for their own safety when playing outside. You insist they go to school because you’re looking at the long term picture. And you are right to do those things. How much more so are you responsible for doing all you can to secure their eternal well being?

Yeah. Life or Death. ETERNAL life. Or Death forever and ever.

But still…there are those who will rebel against whatever our parents make us do. I, for one, refuse to dry the dishes. Oh, I have no problem WASHING THEM at all! In fact, I’ll gladly dive into that warm soapy water (We don’t even HAVE a dishwasher!) and wash every dish in the house…but then they can sit in the drainer and ROT for all I’m willing to do. Why? Well, because my mom forced me to dry the dishes.

EVERY. PHREAKING. TIME!

Rebellion is a part of the Human Soul. There is a REASON why God sent the Tempter into the Garden, to try to get even ONE of his subjects to eat off of that Special Tree. That ONE, CENTRAL, PRIME FOCUS of the Garden of Eden, planted where they simply couldn’t MISS the damn thing!

In my opinion, that’s reason enough to try to give kids a REASON to want to stay in school, to want to eat their veggies, to want to watch for traffic…or especially, to WANT to go to church, and learn about the Baby Jesus.

I don’t know about you, But I DID jump for joy when my parents told me it was time to go to church! I used to LOVE to go to Sunday School with my friends, or to sing with the adults to “Rock of Ages” and “Amazing Grace!” Oh, sure…I generally fell asleep during that old boring SERMON…but then, that was directed at the adults, anyways. I already HAD what I came for. Baby Jesus was right there inside me, watching over me while I slept.

But that’s the point! As adults, we do things for our kids, and make them do things they don’t like, knowing they’re better off for it, but what do we do to make our kids UNDERSTAND THIS? I would much rather my child gets a cut or a bruise one in a while, and learns to be more careful, than to protect them from every bump or scrape and have them wonder what happened later in life when they’re dying from some stupid, avoidable mistake! The same can be said for school. Why force a kid who hates it to go? Make it FUN so that they’ll WANT TO GO! That was the beauty of Sunday School out at the old Clayton Community Church. We had so many activities and arts and crafts to do that learning about Jesus was as much fun as playing Kick the Can! I learned to love my Veggies by having a grandmother who was a professional cook–and knew how to flavor them so that I always WANTED to eat them! Carrots, and beans, and broccoli…cabbage, cauliflower, even BEATS! I love the way my grandmother used to cook beats! (And I still have her recipe, by God!)

Rebellion…. Let’s face it, the same drive that makes us rebel against Authority (Including GOD’S Authority) is the very thing that makes it possible for us to exist as Individuals in the first place! It’s why God sent the Tempter to Eve, and why He put the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” in the Garden in the first place! WE ARE MADE TO REBEL. But…as Parents, we can USE that Rebellion to our advantage, and to the benefit of our kids. Let them learn what happens when they make mistakes. They lean a lot faster, believe me! You can tell a kid to stay away from a candle flame…and he might…for a while. But after you scold the kid while putting salve on his newly earned burn mark, you can bet he’ll REMEMBER to stay away from that candle in the future! And if you can make a GAME out of obeying you…like, say, when you want Junior to clean up his room, for example…THEN he’ll learn to LIKE doing what’s best…and DO IT WHEN HE’S GROWN! God how I wish MY mom had done something like that. Thank God the old Community Church got it right…and I got Right…with GOD.

We always remember the stuff in our lives that really sucked. And most of us go quite the other way. But for the things we remember fondly, we hold onto those. There is no cause to rebel against the things we love. And that is why they last longer..

 

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What In The World Is Wrong With Islam?

Recently, I commented on a forum that asked, ”

Islam is the religion of peace…..any objection ?! 

Oh, yeah…I had a BIG TIME objection:

If the terrorists in the Middle East ever actually PRACTICED Islam, or at least the form of Islam given to the Prophet Muhammad by Gabriel the Archangel, there would BE PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST!

In fact, if Islam were ACTUALLY PRACTICED, instead of this horrid CULT that usurps its name, there would BE NO TERRORISTS!

Another user replied to this….

OH REALLY? Theres a difference between the government and its people… So get your facts right

And then well, I went off…..

Unfortunately, in BOTH Iran, AND Saudi Arabia, the religion DIRECTLY controls the government; and did so in Afghanistan until we invaded. And in ALL THREE CASES, the FORM of Islam practiced by the controlling powers (Shi’ite, and Wahhabi, respectively) are very, VERY far removed from the form practiced by Muhammad and his followers 1300 years ago.

And the Taliban’s form is even further removed from Shi’ia–including probably the most extreme form of Sharia law ever practiced in modern times.

Look, Muhammad lived in a world dominated by Arab Sikhs: warring desert warlords who treated everything as property, especially their women and anyone and everything captured in battle. They practiced brutal slavery, were viciously racist, paranoid, and xenophobic. Children wee publicly auctioned off, executions could occur on the spot without trials, and if one did’t have money, they were essentially either a beggar, a thief, or a servant. NONE of the “Human Rights” we speak of today had any bearing on the reign of the Sultans of the Arabian Peninsula.

Muhammad revived visions of a world that would NOT be dominated by despots and slavers. A religion in which the poor and desperate could be elevated to the level of even the greatest Sultans. Not unlike the teachings of Jesus, in fact; but tailored to the mindset of people who’s current religion descended from Hinduism.

That’s right! HINDUS!

Islam was, at it’s core, the philosophy of Christ given in a form that made sense to a Hindu–as opposed to Christianity, which was tailored to Judaism.

Now, that being said…Muhammad lived in a world wracked by almost constant war. And this philosophy of Freedom and Equality he was bantering about became a threat to the Sikhs and warlords of his day. Of the many battles Muhammad is known to have fought in, very few were initiated by Muhammad and his followers; and even those that were, Muhammad fought to break the strength or supply lines of enemies that had already attacked him! You see, folks..Muhammad and his followers were PEACEFUL! Or, at least, they WANTED to be peaceful! And the scriptures Muhammad was GIVEN were words of peace, NOT WAR! Unfortunately…the Arab World in the Seventh Century was anything BUT peaceful.

Anyways…getting back to my original point…after the death of the Prophet, Muhammad’s followers broke apart into different factions…many going back to their Arab roots! These people re-introduced practices that God had subtly urged them away from, such as forcing their women out of positions of authority, and resuming their violent wars against one another. They resumed their Antisemitism–essentially, a family feud that goes all the way back to the descendants of Abraham and his brother Lot–more than 2,700 years long at the time!

Today, although there are some Arabs practicing a more peaceful and tolerant form of Islam, most continue their hatred of their ancient enemy Israel; many thousands believe that the only certain way to enter heaven is to die in a Jihad; and Muslim parents to this day hold a strict reign over their children’s lives, even going so far as to make arranged marriages for their young daughters or murdering those who are believed to have dishonored the family. And NONE OF THESE PRACTICES were ever given to Muhammad by the Archangel Gabriel! NONE! NOT “Female Circumcision.” This predated Islam by hundreds of years at least! NOT Slavery! THAT practice was common from before the Great Flood! I mean, there are HUNDREDS of things that Muslims do, that THE QURAN ACTIVELY DISCOURAGES!

We cannot call any of this “True” Islam! The TRUTH of Islam may have been lost almost as soon as it was set to paper, and that’s really a shame, because Islam WAS a religion of Peace! And the Arabs WERE learning to live in harmony, not only with each other, but also with their neighbors weren’t Arab. But…today the middle East is filled with terrorists who want me exterminated, racists who want Israel annihilated, and men who treat women even worse than they treat their farm animals!

God did not teach you this! You have taken these things into your faith, for that, you are guilty of HERESY!

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A Legend In His Own Time

Three days ago, the world lost a great man. Nelson Mandela, a legend in his own time, probably did more to engender Equal Rights for blacks than nearly any other man in history; INCLUDING Abraham Lincoln!

Now, I need to preface that; you see, the last time I made a statement like that, I drew alot of angry criticism. Our Prsident Lincoln did what he did to ensure the FREEDOM of black people in America. Not equality…oh, sure, he gave them the right to vote and all that; but then it took more than another HUNDRED YEARS before America rid itself of our own version of Aparteid! True, without Lincoln, there may never have been a Nelson Mandela…or if Lincoln hadn’t set the stage by freeing the slaves, South Africa might simply have executed Mandela, as an unruly (and unsellable) slave. But, what Lincoln did, was only part of the process.

What Mandella did, he did in a single generation. He, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., believed in a world in which color was NOT a determiner of quality. Today, if you tell a soccer player in Africa that you don’t like him because he’s black, it is his WHITE teammates who’ll rip your head off, even before the offended player can tell you he forgives you. In Johannesburg, you’ll find poor white people and rich black people, both–side by side with their counterparts. In short, South Africa is a model that the entire world looks up to.

In Europe today, there are black people, white people, Asian people, and others in every sort of industry, and at every level of government. Why is it that, parts of THIS country still struggle with the same? In the American South, bigotry and hatred still drives entire orders of people. Neighborhoods like Harlem in New York, the French Quarter in New Orleans, Chinatown in San Francisco, and even the many Indian Reservations of the Native American peoples show our differences and divide “Us” from “Them”. Yes…we have an African-American president. Finally. But it happened SIXTEEN YEARS after Nelson Mandela became the first black president of a Democratic Nation ON EARTH!

Abram Lincoln did NOT do that. He may have made it possible…but Nelson Mandela made it happen. Even Martin Luther King didn’t do that; instead, King became a Martyr, and the violence between the races continued on, in some areas, even to the present day. And maybe even in South Africa, the work isn’t finished. But I have not heard of a South African KKK, or an Aryan Nations. Not recently anyways. Not since Nelson Mandela united a people. There was a man who changed, not only his own country, but much of the world, as well. Even we, in America owe him a debt.

Don’t tell me this person, or that President, or some king, or whatever did much for Equality. Nelson Mandela did more for equality among the races of humans than anyone I’m aware of, and he did it world wide. Our history in this country shows a people who have fought the idea of equality tooth-and-nail! We owe alot to to this man, and I think we should honor him as much as we honor our own heros and legends, for a legend he was. Farewell, “Tata.” May you walk among the green fields with your brothers and sisters forever and ever. And one day, may we finally take the lessons you taught us to heart.

SASS has Spoken.

Good day.

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Death in the Family

As a Christian, or…at least as someone who follows Jesus Christ, reads the Bible, and tries very hard to Love my fellow Humans, (and damn, it’s hard to love all of my neighbors…) I have some rather unusual views about Death.  Specifically, about the death of young children.  Of course it is a tragedy when a child dies; especially when one is abused and murdered.  But the Bible has good things to say, when a child happens to die.  It tells us that they are innocent, and that they are beloved by God.  He will take them home to Himself, even if their parents are not good.  Even if they’ve been naughty, young children are not held accountable for sin!  Not like we adults are.  So…naturally it causes me some distress to talk to other Christians about a particular subject:

ABORTION.

Yes, that’s the act of a pregnant woman going to a doctor–or other person–and having her unwanted child…KILLED.  You see, most people I know, who are strongly religious, are rather violently opposed to Abortion.  And for that matter, I Personally HATE Abortion, and those who perform it or seek it!  But I have another point of view.  The same merciful God Who cares for murdered children cares for the unborn in the same manner!  What do I care if some woman who never knew God sends her unwanted baby back to Him?

Actually, I’m going to take this subject even farther.  You see, at one point in history, the Jews of ancient Israel were faced with an even worse situation.  Yes, WORSE than Abortion.  In a neighboring kingdom, the prophets of Ba’al, an ancient Demon, were routinely sacrificing children to their god…by throwing them alive into burning pits!  The Jews wanted to do something about it, but God told them otherwise.  In fact, He told them to stay away from the worshipers of Ba’al altogether.  And once again, He assured them that each and every child has His blessing.

As adults, we have no such assurances.  Today, we can turn on the news to see dozens of reports of murders, rapes, acts of arson, armed robberies, and even wholesale ritual torture, all committed by countless masses of evil people of the sort that once burned babies to honor a Demon god.  Oh, and did I mention that some of those want an abortion?  Really, in the eyes of God, there’s not much difference between aborting an unwanted pregnancy, and throwing a living, breathing child into a bonfire to burn to death.  Including the nature of the people who commit these acts:  unsaved souls who’ve never experienced the love of Jesus.  Nobody who truly loves Jesus Christ would think of doing such a thing.  Either thing.

But those we force to be born to such women can…and often do!  The fact is, the KIND of people who would seek an abortion have never received the Holy Spirit in the first place–even those who profess to be Christian themselves–because the soul of a person with the Spirit in their hearts would never WANT to have an abortion!  And that means, that (should we manage to prevent an abortion from happening) the child born to such a woman is being raised by a parent without God, very often in a broken home, and (in many cases) learning to be the same kind of people who would rob, rape, murder, or have Abortions themselves!  And those kind of people have no place in the Heaven of a God of Love.  They’re going to Hell.  All of them.  And with very few exceptions!  Jesus Christ HIMSELF warned us that the way to salvation is narrow, and few find it.  Even for Christians, there is no guarantee our children will follow us by becoming disciples of Christ.  How much less likely is it that the product of an unwanted pregnancy will find God?  I think you only have to watch the evening news to see the answer to that question.

This actually means that aborted fetuses are better off, most of the time.  Which begs the question, “Why are we Christians really trying to keep the UNSAVED from killing their babies?”  Let them go!  Why force these women to bring more rapists, murderers, drug addicts, gang members, and other enemies of our God into this world?  Hell, let the pagans burn their babies!  The babies will go to Heaven!  The Pagans…are already DAMNED!

Stuff that into your Thinking Pipe and smoke it!

SASS has Spoken.

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I Believe In Father Christmas

I was listening to some festive Holiday music tonight, when a thought struck me to look on the Web for info about Emerson, Lake & Palmer‘s classic Christmas song, I Believe In Father Christmas. I was rather surprised by what I found. It isn’t an “ELP” song after all! This song was actually a solo effort by founding member Greg Lake. And…he made a video of it–several different edits are available on YouTube and other sites. But the gist of what I found out was…Greg Lake, with the help of his Lyricist friend, composed this song as a protest of the commercialization of Christmas, particularly in the United States.

Now, Wikipedia has very good information about the song, including quotes from Greg Lake and others; but I also looked up the song on Songfacts…this is often an excellent site to find obscure facts about a song, it’s history, and maybe what it was intended to be about. It’s also fun to browse through user comments, as people are often touched by certain songs in certain ways, and many of us have unique and interesting interpretations of a song–often quite different from what the author(s) intended or thought they were saying.

What struck me as notable–and the reason I am posting this entry–is that several people commented (or implied) that either Lake himself or this song is Anti-Christian. On the contrary, in interviews he has asserted that this song is NOT anti-Religious at all. Instead, Lake stated that this song was a protest against the Commercialization of Christmas.

In the United States, especially, we are bombarded with deceptive advertisements, television shows, and motion pictures that “inform” us that “Santa Claus” and big Uncle Macy at the Department Store are the ones we should REALLY be worshiping…and serving with our Almighty Dollars (Which, themselves, have become a False God in my country, by the way.) Jesus Himself said that a man cannot serve two masters, and yet I personally do not know of a single Christian who is not also a slave to the power of the Almighty American Greenback Dollar! This is wrong! Very, very wrong!

I’ll even throw in my own bit, that December 25th was NOT the true date of Christ’s birth to begin with; the early Christians celebrated it somewhere around January 6th–and that was on the old Julian calender besides; today’s Gregorian calender would put it around Jan 16th. And that’s only if older Greek historical sources are not correct; as some of those put the actual time of Jesus birth somewhere during the months of May-July. The actual celebration of Christmas we observe on Dec 25 originated with the old Germanic ritual of Yuletide–which, by the way, was a Pagan Fertility Rite.  Yes, you knew sex had to come into Christmas somewhere, didn’t you?

The church, in the 4th-10th Centuries AD polluted itself even further by re-inventing and absorbing Pagan celebrations into “holy” rituals…this practice culminated in nothing less than the Inquisition and the Bloody Dark Ages! Have you ever wondered why Jesus, in the Book of Revelations, refers to the Church of Rome as “The Great Whore of Babylon“? Trust me…the description is very clear. It’s talking about ROME!

Now…all of this certainly contributes to the “Great Lie”/”Fairy Tale” that is Christmas in Europe and America. But, oddly enough, “Santa” is not a lie! At least, not entirely. Reindeer were an invention…as was the North Pole, Elves, and his apparent Omniscience about children being good. The man whom our “beloved Church” perverted into this Comic Book-grade joke was actually a real person. His name was Nikolas, and he was a priest in the Greco-Roman province of Lycia, which is now a part of Turkey. He was known to be a very generous man–having come from a rich family–and he performed so many miracles during his lifetime, he earned the title “The Wonder-worker”. His service during the 4th Century actually pre-dated the church’s bogus adoption of December 25th as “Christ’s Mass”. He is known as a patron of Sailors, Merchants, Archers, Thieves oddly enough, Children, and Students. He’s considered the Patron Saint of Greece, too.

Now, like many other saints, angels, ghosts, and sundry other “things that go bump”–night, OR day, in this case–Nicholas has never been content to just be “Dead“. Nearly every “Saint” in the Catholic Church’s repertoire of Venerable Beings has made appearances. I can cite the repeated, and widely reported sightings of Saint Mary, for example, in Lourdes, Guadalupe, Fatima, and most astonishingly, in Medjugorje, Yugoslavia–an event that was televised by CNN and other news organizations, and is apparently still going on. Well, “Jolly Old St. Nick” was up to his old miraculous tricks very quickly after his bodily “Death”, and I have actually, PERSONALLY met him! The Nikolas of history and supernatural reality bears VERY LITTLE resemblance to the red-suited icon of the American “Christmas Scene”. The reality is, he is down-to-earth, he encourages others to love one another (the very message Jesus taught us, BTW), and…where no other hero or miracle is available, he arranges to have unlikely benefactors do things that ultimately help those who are poor and downtrodden. Yes, this sometimes includes charitable gifts from the rich, like R. H. Macy and Andrew Carnegie…but I’ve also seen incidental events, such as when the construction of a bridge in my hometown hit a snag; and as a result of the necessary redesign, several thousand square feet of land suddenly became available to become the new home for the Union Gospel Mission, a shelter for the homeless. Nor can I discount the haunting similarity of voices on emergency 911 calls played back on Reality shows like “Cops” and “Homicide: Life n the Street” to that of the gentle old man I met those many years go. In each case, a life was saved because of that anonymous 911 call. Yes, ghosts CAN AND DO use modern technology–there are numerous case studies on TV, the Internet, and in print. Of course, I can’t be sure those stories are Nikolas’s handiwork…but that is the spirit of Saint Nicholas, the “real” man behind the “Santa Claus” myth.

So, here, in “I Believe In Father Christmas”, we have Greg Lake’s reaction to the deceitful commercialization of the Christmas Holiday. I mean…there is so little that is actually “Honest” about Christmas presents, lights on the tree and our houses, and even the Nativity itself. Not even the day we celebrate Christmas is true to its origins! What we have is a magical Fairy-Tale, that one day can and must come crashing down around us in a hail of debt, anxiety, and a shortage of parking, that we faithfully endure for the sake of our children. What can I say? Growing up in the Cult of Christmas SUCKS! In the end, no wonder so many of us become depressed, disenfranchised, and detached from the true spirit of Christmas. What we need, is to step back, and take a look at what really started it all:

Somewhere, at some unconfirmed date, in a stable in Israel, a child was born to a young girl who had never had sex with a man. That child grew up to be a great teacher, miracle-worker, and leader. He was murdered by his own people for his unconventional beliefs; and three days later, he THREW OFF THE CHAINS OF DEATH to prove Himself to be not only the Son of Almighty GOD, but to have been the perfect, and final sacrifice, for all of the Evil that we humans have learned to commit.

Oh, and a few centuries later, a wise and humble priest espoused the ideals of this Christ, and was remembered for it.

That’s it! The Truth of Christmas…this is all there is left! No wonder Greg Lake calls it all a Fairy Tale. Buried in literally centuries of fables and falsified ritual and doctrine, the Christmas “Holiday” bears almost no resemblance whatsoever to what is true and holy in honoring the birth and life of Jesus Christ. And so it may have been, that with no small measure of Disgust, Greg Lake bids us “Hallelujah Noel, be it Heaven or Hell“. And, as I have seen so many times myself, we really do get the kind of Christmas that we have earned for ourselves. Perhaps we deserve even worse. As the years progress since Lake wrote this song, I certainly believe our country is getting worse.

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year to you all, on this…by most accounts, the “TRUE” birthday of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

SASS has Spoken. Goodnight.

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About my religion

I was watching an episode of “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” recently; it was an episode where Herk gets lost at sea, and lands in the fabled land of Atlantis.  A girl there asked Herk if he still believes in the gods.  Herk replies, “I don’t have much choice.  My father is one.”

Actually, I find myself in a very similar condition.  I have memories pre-dating my current lifespan, where I served God directly as an angel.  This is part of the reason that I know that our souls exist apart from our bodies physical chemistry, because I existed before I was “Born”.  I believe, like most Christians, that Jesus Christ was born, lived a perfect life, and then was murdered, but rose again on the third day.  But more than that–I REMEMBER these things!  I watched it happen, or alot of it.

And I watched what happened in heaven, when–instead of punishing those responsible for the torture and murder of God’s own son–he poured his wrath down…ON HIS SON!!!

There was horror in heaven, when that happened.  So few of the angels really understood what God meant when he sent HIM as a “Savior”.  We didn’t even have a WORD for the name of God, or His aspects then…nothing translatable into Human speech, anyway.  Amongst ourselves, we spoke in whole concepts, paragraphs and entire essays in a single glimmer of thought.  That was God down there, poured into one of those chemical sacks, not unlike one would seal a hunk of meat into a can.  But then, you can’t put the whole cow into a can, any more than you could put all of God into a mortal body.  The rest remained; but it was silent, inert.  Jesus was there, bound by time and mortality; and the entity we knew–which I can’t even put a name to, He was that great–was missing.  I mean, He was just missing from Heaven…His power was gone!  Bound, down there, in a Mortal form that had only a small fraction of His former energy.

And then the Jews murdered him…and in His righteous wrath, God poured out his vengeance on the VICTIM of their crime–and finally, I understood the concept of a “Sacrifice”.  You see, what Jesus identified as Sin is far more than the human concept of “A little white lie”, or a “Big black lie”, or a Murder, or sexual infidelity, or any other of the actions we humans are capable of taking that are equated with wrongness or evil.

Sin is evil energy.  It ebbs and flows a lot like electricity, and the medium of travel is the human soul, NOT the body chemistry.  If you picture the oil rupture in the Gulf of Mexico, and the insidious way it poisoned fish and seabirds wholly unseen by the human eye, that’s kind of like the way sin works.  When humans commit an act that is wrong, the poison creeps into them like that poison back oil.

But also, when we THINK a thing that is evil, the poison spreads within us.  Thoughts…willing, willful thoughts and deeds that are dark–like hate, greed, lust, and so on–open holes within the energy that is “us” and the poison fills them.

When Jesus died, and was punished by God in our place, he created the means to remove this toxic energy from our souls.  I can’t begin to describe how it actually works…I don’t even think Quantum scientists have yet put words to the concepts necessary to describe the effect that Jesus’ sacrifice had on the dark energy called “Sin”, but suffice it to say that Jesus was able to “Funnel away” the stuff, literally take it away from across all time and space, and then LEAVE IT IN THE ABYSS when He was resurrected on the third day.

Somehow, only by punishing the one who was actually INNOCENT of sin, God was able to cleans all of those who were contaminated by sin.

Would that it were possible to clean up oil-soaked seabirds that way….

SASS has Spoken

— the SASS Man

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The Most Spectacular Misunderstanding…EVER!

Today, while reading my bible—the one with liner notes that help clear up any misconceptions—I noticed something.  A misconception.

Well…first, let me show you what I was reading.  It comes from the Biblical account of the Exodus from Egypt; or more specifically, the chapter in which God introduces himself to Moses—from a burning bush:

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am  This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ “

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.

~ Exodus 3:13-15 [New International Version]

Okay…so the burning bush story is familiar to most of us who’ve grown up in Western society, even if we’re not all practicing Christians or Fundamental Jews.  As is, of course, the epic crossing of the Red Sea, and the Ten Commandments, and so on.  How is this misunderstood?

Well…take those Ten Commandments.  PLEASE!  Take ’em…you can have—

No, no!  I didn’t mean it like that…seriously!  😉

I meant that, in those Commandments, God has something to say about His name—that’s right, the same name He gave Moses to introduce His Almighty Self to the Israelites:

7 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

~ Exodus 20:7 – the Fourth Commandment [New International Version]

Notice anything interesting here?  Hmmm?  Not yet?  Well…you will.

You see…in any version, and in nearly every language, God introduces Himself as “I AM”—the present-perfect sense of the verb “to be”.

“Well,” you say, “maybe it’s specifically referring to the Hebrew language word for it?”

Actually, that’s what most people think.  It’s what the Israelites thought.  In conjunction with what the Fourth Commandment told them, they took it so seriously, they stopped using the word.  LITERALLY!  The people of Israel took the Fourth so seriously, they stopped saying “I AM” outside of prayer and worship activities, until the sound of the word itself was lost, and all we have left of the original Hebrew name for God is the four consonants written in the Hebrew scriptures for it: “YHWH”.

Wikipedia has a great article on this Hebrew name for God, including images of that Hebrew script for it.  Regarding their reverence for the name of God, Wikipedia has this to say:

Jews ceased to use the name in the Greco-Roman period, replacing it with the common noun Elohim, “god”, to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel’s God over all others; at the same time, the divine name was increasingly regarded as too sacred to be uttered, and was replaced in spoken ritual by the word Adonai (“My Lord”), or with haShem (“the Name”) in everyday speech.

They stopped using it.  The Israelites stopped using “I AM”.  And even today, people are loath to say “God” or “Jehovah” or “Jesus” unless they’re really calm or reverent—or, really, really PISSED!

And that’s the part that I think was a terrible mistake.

You see…I don’t think God made a mistake when he used one of the most ubiquitous and irreplaceable symbols in the Hebrew language system to describe Himself.   He referred to himself as “I am what I am” or, as I prefer from the King James version “I Am THAT I Am”.

Seemingly, God…is equating Himself with Existence itself.

He told Moses “I Am that I am”, and that he could introduce his God simply as “I AM”: I Exist, I Was, I Will Be, and Am Here And Now.  He told them His Name was the same as Existence itself—that everything that is was His, that He made it, owned it, and without Him it wasn’t to be.

God…would “BE”.

In Modern English, we can’t speak at all without using derivatives of the verb “To Be” in our sentences.

Think about it.  Here I am, writing about the name of God, and where would I “be” without that one little word?  I WOULDN’T!  Literally, the opposite of “I AM” is “I AM NOT”—non-existence, nothing, never there.  Without “I AM” I could not communicate my existence, your existence, nor the existence or state of anything in the Human Experience.

God meant to do that.  And He meant us to remember Him whenever we talk about OUR existence, too!

THAT was why He chose such a word.  God never intended Humans to stop saying His name.  He never wanted us to shy away from Him out of reverence, or fear, or shame.  The Fourth Commandment says what it means, and means what it says.  Every single time we speak of our existence, or our state of mind, or our place in the universe—every time we use ANY derivative of “Be”…is, am, are, was, were, will be, couldn’t be, has been…WHATEVER!—we ARE speaking the Proper Name of our God, just as He intended from the beginning!

God’s EXISTENCE  is tied into the very framework of our own!  With that Fourth Commandment, God permanently and explicitly tied reverence to the concept of “Is”, of being, so that whenever we spoke of something that is, we must inevitably think of the Almighty God that made it POSSIBLE for it to be.

His name is “IS”.  “I AM”…I-Exist-And-All-That-Exists-Exists-Because-I-Am.  That is the proper name of God, and this is why I believe Israel—and all the people who followed Israel’s lead on the matter—have mis-interpreted not only the intent of the Fourth Commandment, but have misunderstood the entire meaning of God’s name, and his relationship to Creation.  We can’t “not” use God’s name!  It’s impossible to speak coherently without saying it.  It is impossible to contemplate, without experiencing it.  To be, or not to Be…we can’t without God—and that was the idea.

What a SPECTACULAR misunderstanding!  These people thought the name of their Lord was too precious to speak aloud.

I know now that it is too prescious…NOT to speak it.

I shall speak the name of my Lord—loudly, openly, and proudly.  I shall speak it in every way, each and every day.  And I shall remember this name, and I will keep it always Holy in my heart.  Never will I take existence in vain—mine, nor His.

If I am truly the product of God’s Hand, then here is a lesson not taken lightly.  God commanded me to BE, and created me—a Human “BE”ing

This…is what I Am

SASS has Spoken.

— the SASS Man

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