Monday, November 20, 2006
Getting back to that infamous Sunday morning when I heard the 'Voice'.
I was trying to fit in, going through the motions at least, when suddenly what I saw next was most perplexing. It was as if I was at a big screen movie showing. There was this large and rushing water fall that seemed to descend at almost a 90 degree angle into a pool of water that stirred up much turbulence.
There were many large fish floating belly up from having tried to go against the vicious current, and as I pondered upon this site one of the live fish swam up to me singing, this is like heaven to me.
I immediately said..NO, this not like heaven at all.
It was as if this fish could read my thoughts, pointing out what was stirring hidden within my thoughts..you're not thinking of trying to go up stream are you? To which I replied-YES. He then said, you know you will be killed if you try, I said, yes that is most likely true, but this I know, if I stay here I am already dead!
It was on the heels of this sight, I then heard my Father speaking to me and giving me an invitation, you can go and live, or stay and die.I had no understanding of what awaited my going and living, why, because my whole identity was barnacled to the sinking ship of religious temple service/activity.
Staying and dying I knew only to well, that trough I had been feeding out of for some time.
This had to be one of the saddest and at the same time painful days of my life. Everything I had ever wanted, everything I had known was connected to being in the 'ministry', I had been willing to sacrifice anything in order to follow Him. Going and living was most appealing, vs. staying and dying, but..was there Life outside of temple worship and all that had shackled me there?
I sat on what I saw and heard for some time, only sharing with my wife the events. I later shared this with my pastor my once fellow colleague, and he blessed me/us in cutting our ropes from the ship of religion, although he had no more understanding than I did at the time, but I knew to do anything less was now not an option.
This dismantling of my/our lives was set into motion in an accelerated fashion, there was no escaping our appointment with being buried alive.
It's funny how Father brings things back to our memory, especially during this most suffocating time.
He spoke to my heart about that time back in the 70's when it was cool/fashionable to have friends write a blessing of some kind in the fly leaf of our bible, I remember our pastor writing from Phil. 3..That I might know Him etc..The Lord was now speaking to me saying, you had that written in the fly leaf of your bible, but I am going to write it into your heart.
No man is going to see God and live, there has to be a death, or better yet a continuous dying, being separated from the lies of that which had fashioned my identity was much like a petrified corpse, and Satan was not going to roll over and play dead in seeing me delivered.The daily deliverance of trusting Him to save me from returning to those lies, is an ever living gift of His love.
Those were the days my friend, we thought they would never end, the song says, and yes that was but the beginning of being awakened to a world/realm of living that had no ties or connections to temple living/worship.
This newly found and unfolding discovery of Him being my freedom was most humbling as well as unnerving. His intention was to finish that which He had begun, but there were many more tunnels to yet pass through.
The illusion we buy into, is that once you have been through something as crushing and dismantling as what I and so many others have faced, you are into a zen like flow now.How wrong can you be. There are seasons of the soul, and the Father's training is prolonged until we get home.
Are we there yet??
I remember that fateful morning looking back seemingly so far and long ago. Sitting or perched in my spot within the sanctified building enduring another Sunday morning 'church service'. To this day I have NO recollection of anything that was going on around me that morning, but I was THERE!
There is so much that precedes this snap shot moment in my story, but suffice it to say, long before this morning of the axe being laid to the root of my tree, I had said to God, 'Lord, I do not want to ever even think of leaving or doing anything that is simply me being disillusioned or being impulsive.'
When I said this I meant it, but never dreamed He would in fact be confronting me, as He put it, 'You can go and Live, or stay and Die'!What He was saying to me has no reflection upon those (my brothers and sisters in Christ) who were there with me that morning, I have no idea of what, or anything He might have been saying to them, BUT, I was wide awake to Him speaking to me.
Its as if I was dreaming, or as Ray (Kevin Costner) Kinsella said in the movie the Field of Dreams.."I'm 36 years old, I love my family, I love baseball, and I'm about to become a farmer. But until I heard the voice, I'd never done a crazy thing in my whole life." I'm throwing this other quote in here as well re: dreaming..I love this conversation taking place in the movie..."Is this heaven? No, its Iowa! Iowa? I could have sworn this was heaven. Is there a heaven? Oh yeah. It's the place where dreams come true...maybe this is heaven."
Well I had done some very crazy things in my life and walk with the Lord up to this point, but there was more unfolding than simply being disillusioned here.It was the worst of times that morning as well as the best of times, but, it was just the beginning of my world being dismantled.
Thank you Father.
He then proceeded to fill in some of the blanks for me..Stay tuned.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
If the whole world lies under the power or influence of (the evil one) Satan, then everything outside of Christ is religion!
Nothing is as it appears to be, we live in world of illusion, which has been pulled over our minds, making all of us prisoners to the Matrix that the father of religion has constructed.
Religion, no matter what color, size, shape or packaging it comes in, is powerless to keep a person ensnared without there being something hidden from sight, some impetus that gives the Matrix of religion its enslaving power.
That power is Satan working, maintaining and keeping this illusion alive and well in to many minds (souls) to count.
The movie The Island, clearly depicts this subterfuge of the Matrix, as soon as there is the slightest rip, or tears in the fabric of the lie/s being used to keep minds held captive, something happens as in a shift of focus to distract one from ever seeing the Truth, but as the truth is revealed to the two main characters in the movie, they are used to free the rest of those still imprisoned.
For all of us who have been rebirthed, the truth is at first and best simply (although we use the right language) a conceptual thing.Seeing the truth as in the person of the Christ is not what the father of lies and religion can ever afford anyone to see.
The Truth sets the clouded mind free, as so well put by Paul when sharing with certain believers, ‘Who has bewitched or beguiled you’?Religion at best is bewitching, casting as it were a spell over the soul, giving the impression of freedom which is its power of illusion.
So many are becoming disillusioned in and with churchianity, but this is just the beginning, it will take much more than being disillusioned to be extricated from this prison house. The house will have to be torn down; unfortunately it is in the demolishing of this structure, which is defined in us as an identity that is false. (A form of godliness, but no substance to it)
As this process of separation unfolds the temptation to want to take the ‘blue pill vs. the red pill’ (see the movie The Matrix) will never be so real.
Hells lies are being exposed for what they are in light of Him the Truth. Our enemy although defeated by the One, who is our only Life resident in us, knows whether we know Him as Truth or simply a mind-conceptual thing.
He (Satan) will, and is contesting this attempt of the light shinning into the darkness. He knows that a person can not loose their salvation, but, he also knows that through trickery and cunning deceit, he can keep the believer from ever becoming a threat to the lies that still keep so many captive to the Matrix of religion.
The saying, “Most have more faith in Satan’s ability to deceive us then in God’s ability to lead us” has never been truer than in the hour we now live.
Jesus constantly used comparisons-contrasts…I am the ‘True vine, bread, shepherd etc.’ there is the Father, and then there is the father of lies as Jesus referred to Satan.It seems in our not knowing Him as our only Life; we readily accept the word-voice of the father of lies instead. Our blindness in not seeing and in hearing the lover of our soul speaking to us, further ensures our prolonged stay in the prison of the matrix.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
I was watching an episode of the X-Files the other night, and the story reminded me of something that is becoming very clear to me.
Shape-Shifter ~One that seems to be able to change form or identity at will.
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."
Mulder and Sculley were investigating a supposed murder and in the process of their investigation stumbled into discovering a cave, but before they went into this cave they accidental stepped on some mushrooms that exploded with a release of spores.
Little did either of them know, that by stepping on those mushrooms and ingesting the spores, that this was a deliberate and planed strategy by something that had no resemblance to what was going to try and kill both of them.
Deep beneath the surface there was this plant life that covered numerous acres, it was a fungus plant life that needed to feed on living (human) tissue. Before it could begin its work of dissolving the tissue, it attacked their minds, sedating the victim and rendering then powerless. Maybe this looks something like this in one of the conversations Paul was having with a group of believers.
Paul: "Will you put up with a little foolish aside from me? Please, just for a moment. The thing that has me so upset is that I care about you so much—this is the passion of God burning inside me! I promised your hand in marriage to Christ, presented you as a pure virgin to her husband. And now I'm afraid that exactly as the Snake seduced Eve with his smooth patter, you are being lured away from the simple purity of your love for Christ.It seems that if someone shows up preaching quite another Jesus than we preached—different spirit, different message—you put up with him quite nicely."
I think Paul saw through the smoke screen here and was warning them and us that there are no other options to consider in knowing Freedom. The baited hook that was and is offered to us all as it was in this setting was an enlightenment, but hidden within it was the entrapment.
All the time, in this case with Mulder and Sculley the hallucinogenics from the spores from the mushrooms were working in giving then the illusion of being somewhere else, living their normal existence, but in fact they were being slowly dissolved by this fungus.
They both ended up escaping, but just barely.
Isn't it interesting that Satan can not stop the miracle of grace translating a person out of his kingdom into the realm of the Father, but it does not mean by a long shot that he simply rolls over and says, the hell with it!He is the hidden shape-shifter in us all, and until, (and this is a process), we come to see that even though rebirthed, we can still be very busy, according to our understanding, following hard after God, doing the stuff, whatever that might be. But maybe as in the episode I watched, the hallucinogens of religion working its work in us, gives us something tangible, measurable, what we think is really happening, but in fact we're going fast nowhere.
It was for this purpose that the Son of God was manifested in the flesh, that he might destroy the enemy's bewitching/beguiling works, or release us from the religious Matrix that wants to keep us trying, resorting to our efforts to please God, by trying just a bit harder.
Why is it so soon in most cases after a person has been rebirthed they end up sucked into something so far from reality? Maybe it is because we are trying to mix or blend this relationship with the Father with something that has nothing to do with Life.
The shape-shifter (Satan) hidden within our flesh is working through the hallucinogens of religion to keep us believing we are in fact pursuing and pleasing God.
Our enemy knows that there is only one thing that can shift and shape our being and that is the Love of the Father, and so he works with whatever it takes to keep the believer fixated on lies that will flatter the persons fleshly ego.
I love this quote from A.W. Tozer.."We are to a large degree the sum of our loves and we will of moral necessity grow into the image of what we love most; for love is among other things a creative affinity. It changes and molds and shapes and transforms. It is without doubt the most powerful agent affecting human nature next to the direct action of the Holy Spirit of God within the soul."
Monday, November 13, 2006
I read this, this morning, and reflecting upon it, I see some things that tie in with what I posted earlier regarding seeing who and what ‘family’ just might be.
As our loving Father brings in the needed and ongoing separation between our spirit and our soul, that internal separation will spell (and spill out) more often than not an external separation, i.e. great loneliness, and isolation, but there is a divine and loving heart behind all of this newly discovered prolonged pain.
It has nothing to do with trying to be better than (there is nothing sacred about being sanctimonious) or trying harder to please God by trying harder. But in fact it is us being drawn into a realm of reality that yielded to will bring forth Life out of death, Light out of darkness, but it is a process, being processed by the very Word that was fully processed by the same Father, our Father!
How many times has this same story unfolded through out the centuries, from the earliest of times even shortly after the church was birthed on the day of Pentecost?
“Christians have always tended to transform the Christian Revelation into a Christian religion. People tend to transform Christianity into a religion because the Christian faith obviously places people in an extremely uncomfortable position: that of freedom guided only by love and all in the context of God's radical demand that we be holy.”
I wonder as I am being awakened in this new world of His reality, ‘without holiness, no man shall see God?’
The Holy One is in His temple, in me, but is this reality worth all that it will cost me?
Lord, be it done in me according to your Word!
Faith vs Belief by Jacques Ellul
Belief provides answers to people's questions, so as to find assurance and provide a solution; so as to fashion for themselves a system of beliefs. Faith is not to supply us with explanation, but to get us to listen to God's questions. Belief talks and talks, it wallows in words, it takes the initiative to explain. Faith listens patiently. Belief brings people together, joined in the same institutional current, oriented toward the same object of belief, sharing the same ideas, following the same rituals, enrolled in the same organization, speaking the same language. It has the social benefit of consensus and identification. Faith individualizes. It has to do with a personal relationship with God in which God confers each with unique identity. Faith separates people and makes them unique, set apart for what God wants to do. Belief is antithetical to doubt. It is the basis of fundamentalism; people unbending in their convictions, intolerant of any deviation. In their articulation of belief they press rigor and absolutism to their limits. Belief is rapidly transformed into passwords, rites, orthodoxy. Faith recognizes doubt. Faith puts to the test every element of my life and society. It leads me to question all my certitudes, all my moralities, beliefs, and policies. It forbids me to attach ultimate significance to any expression of human activity."
taken from Jacques Ellul - Living Faith.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
The reality and Life of the Father suddenly appears to burp up into our consciousness and this is but the beginnings of great turmoil and pain!
Why? We either continue to play the game (make believe) or we dare look into seeing how deep this rabbit hole in fact just might be.
In the process of trying to share our pain, confusion, with 'family' as a direct result (although this is not seen at first) of the Life of the Father gripping ones soul and only being brought to a place of total bewilderment when those faces do not reflect a message of, wow, oh yes, I understand what you are saying, going through. If anyone should understand it, it would be family..right? Maybe we need to take a fresh look at who and what family just might BE.
I love the story a friend of Wayne Jacobson's (Jack) shared with him on a recent pod cast, http://www.thegodjourney.com/wordpress/index.php
'When You Can't Play The Game Any Longer', and it is this part in particular I want to capture, as it ties in so well.
"I don't understand this, I'm sharing with family and yet something is wrong. He later came to realize he wasn't sharing with family, he was sharing with dear,dear friends,very good friends, but they weren't family, they weren't people on the same journey. They were just good people, good Christan's trying harder to please God by trying harder."
I know the Father is no respecter of persons, but just maybe he is a respecter of hearts..you know, Man judges a book by its cover, sees man on the outside, but our Father looks upon the heart.
Here is an interesting scenario unfolding as Jesus is interrupted while sharing His heart with the people..
Matthew 12 (The Message)46-47
While he was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers showed up. They were outside trying to get a message to him. Someone told Jesus, "Your mother and brothers are out here, wanting to speak with you."
48-50 Jesus didn't respond directly, but said, "Who do you think my mother and brothers are?" He then stretched out his hand toward his disciples. "Look closely. These are my mother and brothers. Obedience is thicker than blood. The person who obeys my heavenly Father's will is my brother and sister and mother."
This isn't about me-us vs them, but it is very much about learning who my family..brothers and sisters are. There are those who are sent ahead as it were into this living hellish crucible and coming out of it on the other side, much like how it is portrayed in science fiction shows when someone passes through a worm hole. They have come into a whole new world of reality that may not have anything to do with how they sized things up (measured reality) in their previous world.
We have all been born in sin and shaped (defined by its power) in iniquity. Maybe I, we, are not the people we think we are.
Maybe this Jesus~meek and mild, won't hurt a child is not the (Aslan) Jesus that rebirthed us? He is a Lion, but He is not tame. In this Lion there is the Lamb.
Everything within us has been defined, shaped by this death-life we inherited by being born into the human race. How can that which is man, created to be dependent, ever become independent, and yet that is the lie all of us have partaken of.
The illusion is that we are our own god, living independently of the True God, but in fact Satan living in our flesh has blinded us from seeing that in our defiance of not looking to Him as our All, we became totally dependent upon another-Satan.
Is there any difference at all from that which Neo faced in the movie The Matrix, or as it was so excellently depicted in the movie, The Truman Story? Simply living out a pre written script for us, giving us the opiated belief that we were doing our own thing.
All of creation is standing on tip-toe with baited breath, watching diligently for the manifest sons of God to appear, to liberate them from the curse.
As Jesus went into the wine-olive press alone to be bruised, crushed and broken, so we to are invited to share in His triumph.
It is in coming out on the other side of these most necessary times that we will be there for those being unplugged from the Matrix of religion and Being Him to them.
Some words from ...Norman P. Grubb
Karuizawa Japan Conference of 1954Topic: “The Liberated Self”
"I just point out what is of course obvious to us who are Bible teachers and Bible students -- how you can trace out in almost every great life of the Bible, the period, the long period that it took for God to get a person to discover his insufficiency, to break to pieces his self-reliance, and then to replace it by God-reliance. And God-reliance is union. In every case you’ll find great moments when these men came out into union. But the union couldn’t be realized until the man had become the nothing so that God could become the everything. It couldn’t! You cannot know a free Christ inside you until you’ve been freed from yourself. You can’t know two people inside at the same time. You can’t know the indwelling Christ in His liberated presence conveying His mind to us, conveying His Word to us, conveying His power to us, and conveying His beauty and purity to us unless we’ve first of all been through that basic experience which has put out the self-sufficient self. Put it out! And it’s a real putting out. It’s as real a crucifixion for me as it is for Jesus Christ in the Spirit. When Paul said, “I am crucified,” it wasn’t a theory. It was something he had gone through. Those nails had pierced his personality even as they had pierced those Holy hands and feet. And we all no doubt take delight in digging out those simple facts for ourselves and expounding to others the evidences in the histories of the great biographies of the Bible. The years it’s taken God to give blind, earnest, utterly consecrated men such an eye opener to their helplessness, and then the replacement of their helplessness by Himself. That’s the meaning of the burning bush. We all know the story of Moses. I needn’t dwell much on these things because we know them so well."
Thursday, November 09, 2006
I was thinking about obedience being better than sacrifice, yes I realize this is from an OT (Old Testament) quote, but hear me out.
Without knowing, (seeing-hearing) the work of the Spirit or how Father is speaking to a person, at best, most imitate/fake it, and expect there to be some kind of results. When that doesn't work, well, just try harder right??
Of course if the bottom line is.."It works" then one can't go wrong, or can they?
Knowing His love, produces (for it is Christ that works in you both to will and to do) what He desires for us.
Is Jesus looking to be flattered by us imitating Him..."Imitation is the greatest form of flattery?"
But isn't that what religion has done from the very get go? It takes Him initiating the work, we at best stumble into the outer expression, in the visible realm where it suddenly appears that we have in fact done the right thing!
Multitudes seem to be wanting to simply follow or mimic the actions of those that are 'led' by/of His spirit..you know, 'Those that are led of the spirit, they ARE the sons of God stuff!
I remember reading a story once where this person who worked in a group home for the hearing impaired as well as the deaf.
He was listening one day to some great tunes on the radio, bopping and grooving to the beat, snapping his fingers and tapping his foot. He was in sync with the beat~man.
There was this deaf boy watching this interesting drama unfolding. Not having ever had the use of his ears or being able to hear from birth, he tried to mimic the other hearing boys actions.
It was most humorous (but sad) to see, the deaf boys actions were not in time or sync with the music or beat, it was like watching a bad movie.
Isn't it much the same with what churcianity has been doing for a very long time, their inability to hear for themselves, the individual, have been imitating those that can and do hear from the Father.
Is it any wonder that this to has appeared as a bad B Japanese dubbed movie?
Is our Father lacking in creativity, or is it us, so afraid of being the one and only unique expression of Him in you, marching to His beat?
I guess there is always the option of just blending in.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Was it just a shift, a new paradigm that Saul needed in his hellish bent and determined madness of coming directly against the Lord?Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting ME?
I guess if one is 'sincere' it can't be all bad, right? Wrong!! No doubt about this mad man being sincere, but most sincerely wrong. His life was an accident looking for a place to happen.
It will never be about developing a new language, or getting the words/wording right, aka, a new paradigm. It is and continues to be an unfolding revelation of Him..He must increase, I must decrease.That sounds pretty easy, we've got the formula, lets get on with the show~ha!
It is much more than simply trying to wade through a mixture of muddled thoughts. It is going to be a hellish night mare, the Prince of Peace welding His sword and plunging (impaling) it deep into the core of our being.
His (Him being that Living Word-sword) word is sharper than any lazar man has, (man can separate the bone from the marrow) in bringing division between the spirit and the soul.
To my way of thinking this is a fulfillment of that which the Lord did through the prophet Jeremiah, Your job is to pull up and tear down, take apart and demolish,And then start over, building and planting." Sounds like fun? A piece of cake this transition will be...right?
Maybe the devastation that comes as result of His word rooting out (sorting out things aka separating) in the depths of our being might have something to do with..Blessed are those who mourn-grieve, for they shall be comforted.
What might one be mourning-grieving..maybe the lose of that which was most failure to us, that false identity we thought was really us.
As He is tearing down all that has been established within our lives that represented who we thought we were, might it not be an occasion to 'rebuke the devil', thinking, this couldn't be my Fathers work..could it?????
I am seeing more and more that this evolution-transition-transformation, is going to bring more and more instability into my equilibrium before the unshakableness of His life in me becomes evident.
I do NOT see Jesus ever saying or implying that this miracle of being transfered out of the kingdom of darkness into the marvelous kingdom of light and love of the Father is ever going uncontested by the enemy of our soul..NEVER! The gates of hell will NOT prevail, but there is going to be a contesting!
Can you just hear Jesus (according to our self-preservation) saying to Peter..Satan has asked over and over to have you..to sift you as wheat, and I have given him the okay to do this. No reason to fear Bro, the transition is going to be totally pain free~ha!
Yeah, that's what our fleshly, carnal thinking is purposing. I want to know Him deeply, I want a growing relationship with Him, but none of this ongoing work of the cross please.
It was hellishly painful for Peter to be thrust into this living nightmare at the hands of the Lord saying, go ahead Satan, give it your best shot.
Another picture that is somewhat askew in our muddled thinking, the young rich ruler asking Jesus what he needed to do to have everlasting life?
Jesus seeing that this fellow was being ruled by what he though he ruled with and over, said, go sell all that you have and give the money all away, then come and follow me.
Many would love to read it like this..Jesus speaking to the young rich ruler, Now listen up Bro, it's not as bad as you think it's going to be, I'm going to make this transition to be as painless as possible for you, remember, meek and mild, I wouldn't hurt a child Jesus...well thats me, you just keep what you have and follow me~ha!
I especially see a loving Father amputating another one at the knees, this time it being Saul of Tarsus. It wasn't just a minor tweaking, or new paradigm shift this murderer needed.
The transition was going to come out of a head on collision with the God and Father of all comfort, but first, it was going to feel much like a hellish BB-Q taking place.
Is it any wonder in the ongoing miracle of His grace bringing into alignment, our spirit with our soul, that it might be looked upon as the enemy's activity instead of a loving Father's care?
I love the real/true illustration Steve McVey used in his first book he wrote, talking about the time he rushed his son to the emergency room at the hospital, and finding out that his son was in most critical need of immediate attention to alleviate a build up to toxic poisons as a result of a blocked bladder.
The Doctor needed to insert a catheter into the boys penis, this was more than the little boy could stand, the pain had him writhing like a slippery snake.
The Doctor insisted that his dad forcefully hold his son down while this was inserted in the boy. Steve's son already consumed with fear and crying asked, Dad, why are you letting this man hurt me? Only to see his dad now forcefully holding his weight down upon his sons chest holding him still while the doctor caused even greater pain.
This was too much to bear, not just for the son, but even more so for Steve, the father.
Our Father's intention is not having us living a pain free life, in other words, His top priority is not our immediate happiness, but to be conformed into His likeness..that transition is going to be much more than 'a new learning curve-paradigm' cross over.
Our Father's continuous work is to destroy in our flesh the plans and purposes of Satan, in destroying this hidden destroyer, we will not understand much of the needed amputation taking place at all, but, do we really want new wine in an old wine skin?
Blessed are the Poor in Spirit!
Was the Father offering nothing but a religious (illusory) fantasy to the poor through His Son?
Or is that the best that religion has to offer mankind?
Who and what is the oppressor of mankind, is it not the father of all religion, Satan, hidden, incognito within all flesh, the one that torments and rules man, rather than man ruling?
Jesus said you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.
"Speaking to the people, he went on, "Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot."
I found what Marx had to say about religion to be most insightful as far as it went, and especially that religion was but in fact a 'symptom' of a far greater disease.
This 'dis-ease', a lack of confidence, (significance, worth, value) security, strength, hope can never be found in the soul candy-cocaine that religion hands out to us!
Jesus did not come to bring Utopia to earth, or Shangri-la, but he came to give His life as a Ransom, to liberate man from the one hidden within him that was slowly but certainly destroying him.
This Peace was going to be defined in the person of God's Son, Christ Jesus...He himself said, I have not come to bring peace (in fact He was and is the Prince of Peace) but a sword.
The rule and reign of this peace is only available in His person-Life, the ability to stand, having done all...STAND! No longer being tossed to and fro by the cunning and craftiness of men.
Being extricated from the Matrix of religion is a most painful and costly adventure..as one man put it (the apostle Paul), because of this Man, I have suffered the loss of ALL things.
Is Religion the Opiate of the Masses?
This quote is reproduced a great deal and is probably the only Marx quote that most people are familiar with. Unfortunately, if someone is familiar with it they are likely only familiar with a small portion that, taken by itself, tends to give a distorted impression of what Marx had to say about religion.
Religious distress is at the same time the _expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, Or is that the best that religion the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right
Usually all one gets from the above is "Religion is the opium of the people" (with no ellipses to indicate that something has been removed).
Sometimes "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature" is included. If you compare these with the full quotation, it’s clear that a great deal more is being said than what most people are aware of.
In the above quotation Marx is saying that religion’s purpose is to create illusory fantasies for the poor. Economic realities prevent them from finding true happiness in this life, so religion tells them that this is OK because they will find true happiness in the next life. Although this is a criticism of religion, Marx is not without sympathy: people are in distress and religion provides solace, just as people who are physically injured receive relief from opiate-based drugs.
The quote is not, then, as negative as most portray (at least about religion). In some ways, even the slightly extended quote which people might see is a bit dishonest because saying "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature..." deliberately leaves out the additional statement that it is also the "heart of a heartless world."
What we have is a critique of society that has become heartless rather than of religion which tries to provide a bit of solace. One can argue that Marx offers a partial validation of religion in that it tries to become the heart of a heartless world. For all its problems, religion doesn’t matter so much — it is not the real problem. Religion is a set of ideas, and ideas are expressions of material realities. Religion is a symptom of a disease, not the disease itself.
Still, it would be a mistake to think that Marx is uncritical towards religion — it may try to provide heart, but it fails. For Marx, the problem lies in the obvious fact that an opiate drug fails to fix a physical injury — it merely helps you forget pain and suffering. This may be fine up to a point, but only as long as you are also trying to solve the underlying problems causing the pain. Similarly, religion does not fix the underlying causes of people’s pain and suffering — instead, it helps them forget why they are suffering and gets them to look forward to an imaginary future when the pain will cease.
Even worse, this "drug" is administered by the same oppressors who are responsible for the pain and suffering in the first place. Religion is an _expression of more fundamental unhappiness and symptom of more fundamental and oppressive economic realities. Hopefully, humans will create a society in which the economic conditions causing so much pain and suffering would be eradicated and, therefore, the need for soothing drugs like religion will cease. Of course, for Marx such a turn of events isn’t to be "hoped for" because human history was leading inevitably towards it.
So, in spite of his obvious dislike of and anger towards religion, Marx did not make religion the primary enemy of workers and communists, regardless of what might have been done by 20th century communists. Had Marx regarded religion as a more serious enemy, he would have devoted more time to it in his writings. Instead, he focused on economic and political structures that in his mind served to oppress people.
For this reason, some Marxists could be sympathetic to religion. Karl Kautsky, in his Foundations of Christianity, wrote that early Christianity was, in some respects, a proletarian revolution against privileged Roman oppressors. In Latin America, some Catholic theologians have used Marxist categories to frame their critique of economic injustice, resulting in "liberation theology."
Marx’s relationship with and ideas about religion are more complex than most realize. Marx’s analysis of religion has flaws, but despite them his perspective is worth taking seriously. Specifically, he argues that religion is not so much an independent "thing" in society but, rather, a reflection or creation of other, more fundamental "things" like economic relationships. That’s not the only way of looking at religion, but it can provide some interesting illumination on the social roles that religion plays.
Friday, November 03, 2006
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Jesus demonstrated the life for his followers so clearly and in turn we make it fuzzy. We then proceed in setting down hard lines and boundaries Jesus never spoke of or demonstrated.
What I want to share here isn't an episode from the X-Files with Fox Mulder saying, 'The Truth is out there.' The Truth, Christ in us, is a very real and fixed reality..not..from a distance God is watching over us, crap!
The miracle of the rebirthing (it wasn't the result of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but by the word-sperma of God) became a reality when we cried out to Him....BAMMMMMM!
He clearly says, no one comes to the Father except through the Son, and no one comes to the Son except through His Spirit.
The point being, there was a heart-grace collision that resulted in Life as a result of yielding to His Spirit.
When and where did things get fuzzy, hard lines and boundaries get established, when we no longer stayed in step with His spirit. If it was the Holy Spirit working in conjunction with the Father and Son in the rebirthing, it only stands to reason that apart from the Holy Spirit there is NO way to know this (His) Life that has invaded me!!!
Apart from becoming like unto a child as Jesus stressed, the best we can become (although saved) is in having a form of godliness, but lacking any power (display of Life).
A quote from Richard Foster..
" All who seek God have a perennial tendency to idolize the means through which he is made known to us. Perhaps it was by means of an altar call that God wonderfully broke into our lives. Perhaps it was in reciting of a particular liturgy, or the singing of a special hymn, or the reading of a specific book, or the unmediated quiet of our home, or while we were in a particular posture. We then take that living experience and calcify it and idolize it as the way to meet God. Without realizing it, we soon turn a vibrant, life-giving reality into a new legalism, which breathes death."
Taken from.. http://thegodjourney.com/forums/index.php?action=recent