It’s just no one can see it anymore

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Over at justmebeingcurious today …

“Love conquers death.  Love conquers a hard-heart.  Love’s the first and last thing we each know – whether by love’s presence OR by love’s absence.”

As we say at Church Set Free: Love is always the answer.

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“When were you last at confession?  When were you last at church?  When did you last read the bible?  When did you last pray to God the Father?  When did you last give?  When did you last … “

As we say in church.

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This Sunday, why not spend a few minutes with

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Dearly beloved …

As we gather here today …

 

 

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Thank you,

Paul

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We are creators with rights

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Love is the answer, now what’s your question.

What is grace … ?
What is forgiveness … ?
What is being saved … ?
What is church … ?
What is spiritual growth … ?
Who is God … ?
Who is Jesus … ?
What is the Holy Spirit … ?
Where is God … ?
Why is God … ?

To all of those my answer is Love.

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But what about the “blame God” questions?

Why do people die … ?
Why do people get sick … ?
Why do people do bad things … ?
Why does God let bad things happen … ?

My answer is that Love allows.

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Allows me to decide what I will do, will think, will respond, will change or not.

Imagine living forever – never dying.

  This world is struggling to support our capacity for longevity and for curing more and more ills.

Imagine if we all lived forever and could never have children, could never create new life, could never live free to be who we are: creators.  Where is the love in that self-centred desire for eternal life here on this earth?  There is no “freedom” in that anymore than there is “freedom” in death.

My answer is that Love allows.

Allows bad things to happen.  Decisions and actions dictated by me.  My choice.  My freedom to be who I am.

“The poor will always be with you.”

Imagine being so rich in happiness that sadness was impossible.  I would be poor in empathy and connection with others.  I would be regarded as odd – up my own backside – out of touch with the real world.

“My dog died.”
Wow! I am so happy for you!

“My mother is very ill.”
Oh dear, but I have two tickets for (this highly prized event) isn’t that just too wonderful for words?

“I can’t pay my bills this week – I don’t know what to do.”
Well never mind, I have just booked and paid for the holiday of a lifetime – can’t you be happy for me?

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Only “good stuff”

Insulates and emasculates.

Love allows.  Allows me to be free of having to be something I say I should be.  Allows me to be free of having to be something you say I should be.  Allows each of us to be free to be who we are, who we were, and who we will be.  Happy, sad, rich, poor, healthy and ill, living and dying.   I think “bad stuff” is our expectation that we should be above life itself.  We are not only creators – we are creators with rights – the right to be above “bad stuff”.

Every shooter wants to be free of “bad stuff” – the bad stuff seen or experienced or heard or seen – bad stuff of their created reality and those who think like them.  A reality that motivates and validates taking life.  Makes killing a good thing.

Just as we kill perfectly good relationships because the grass is greener … kill goodness in others by giving them our anger or pain … kill honesty and integrity bit-by-bit with every “no one will notice – no one will see” …  kill Love with “I have rights” – that starts with one tiny baby-step – but allows a journey only we decide. 

Cancer.  Tumours.  Infections.  Superbugs.

We have rights – the right to be above bad stuff we call “unfair” … “too soon” … “why me” … “why this” … “why does no one care” … “why does no one fix this?

Because we are creators and we have rights.

The right to be above life itself.

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And maybe that is why Jesus.  A real-life or a parable-life – I care not.

I care only that this Creator – this all-knowing-all-seeing-all-controlling “God” who we created – a creation not above life as we know it here on earth – is not a Creator who has rights – is not a Creator who fixes everything (and everyone) with a magic-wand – but who meets me where I am because that is Love – meets me if I allow because that is Love.

A Creator – we created – who is Love not magic – who has all the time in the world for me – who is not a Creator of a tight-ship/tight-schedule who can give-you-two-minutes-tops.

A Creator – we created – who is of Love allowing all – who is not of “I-have-rights”.

I think blame is not Love – not our created Creator-God.

Because if we created this God of the Bible (and we did) … a God not above life on earth … not of “What About Me” … not of all that stuff we think is Love but is self-created in “I have rights” …

Then we created something truly wonderful

Because we created this God who is Love

We allowed our best-self to be our template for best-living

If we allow.

“Love is the answer, now what’s your question?”

Is us

And that IS

Phenomenal!

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The qualified teaching of I can’t

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Qualified theology began life with good intent.

And then become bound in ever-more qualification to become ever-more-all-embracing-ever-more-applicable-to-all-people-throughout-all-time.

“All are welcome” shouldn’t need saying.

But it is all the time.

So too God and Jesus and Mercy and Worship and Grace and Love.

All need qualified explanation with a qualified language that only the qualified can understand and debate.  A language that accommodates every objection and question and doubt.  Or else it would not be explaining The Word of God for all occasions for all people in all circumstances throughout all time.  Because if it can’t then it might be flawed – and God is not flawed – so neither can The Word.

Which is why we need the qualified to teach The Word. 

But an unintended consequence is to insulate-bind this God in a Word that has become of Man to address all questions, doubts and preferences.  Because believers …

Believe!

And believers must be strong in belief … must live a visible and differentiated life of The Good and Worthy Servant.  And that takes strength not doubt –  certainty not questions – perfection not imperfection – needs the Devil to explain temptation – needs Sin and Sinners for giving-in to temptation – and needs the qualified to “ok” (forgive?) my “sinning” (on behalf of God?).

Because God is in all – God is in the very-stinky-unkempt-beer-filled-aggressive-sweary-homeless-person – that is God as well as God in me – the well-dressed-educated-employed-responsible-and-much-blessed-so-must-be-grateful-and should-be-attending-church-person (says the qualified Word of Man God)

“BEEN BLESSED?  Give a Buck, Save a Life!”  (the link to “tax deductible donations” under a God-blog)

“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace–only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.  It can be received gladly or grudgingly, in big gulps or in tiny tastes, like a deer at the salt.” Anne Lamott  (like so many extracts from The Word, we take the bit that works and discard the rest … “deer at the salt”… really?)

“Grace is a gift from Heavenly Father given through His Son, Jesus Christ.  The word grace, as used in the scriptures, refers primarily to enabling power and spiritual healing offered through the mercy and love of Jesus Christ. … The grace of God helps us every day.”  (a gift we don’t deserve but are given anyway – with all the necessary qualified-baggage – gratitude, worship, servitude, etc)

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It all separates us from God.

And in explaining God-in-The-Bible we make me BEING God-like truly unattainable – make Love (the God-version) TOTALLY unattainable for us (weak-but-strong-in-belief!!) sinners-saved.  Which lets me off the hook on “Love” as well as being “God-like”.   All I can do is to try (unsuccessfully) to be seen to be trying.  That’s what the Word of Man God says.

Like the Word of Man God also says that EVEN gays and lesbians and false teachers and those who believe in a different God or no god at all are “All Are Welcome” if …

Which has one teensy-weensy flaw …  

It is not of Love and Grace and God.  Is not of I Am which IS the Word of God.

Now add Love (without any conditions at all)

not even the “condition” of me loving without any condition at all

– which means gays and lesbians and those who believe in a different God or no god at all AS WELL AS the very-stinky-unkempt-beer-filled-aggressive-sweary-homeless-person (who might ALSO be gay or lesbian or believe in a different God or no god at all) are not even visible as “different” to me by my (qualified) differentiation and my (taught) definition and my (conditional) no-conditions-love.

Or to put it another way …

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LOVE makes all “invisible” as different in any way to God.

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Which means ..

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Love makes all invisible as different in any way to me as well.

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And if I am Love …

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Then I shouldn’t need the Word of God …

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To teach me that I can’t.

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Finding the right church

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All my life it seems like I have been told that all “you need to do is to find the right church” …

And I have a car and enough money to fill it with petrol.

And if my priorities were in the right order I shouldn’t have a problem with driving miles to find my right church.

In other words, if I love God enough to actually (and in reality) follow Him …

Then I should be prepared to give Him my driving-finding-time in order to “find Him” where I need to be “met and never left unchanged”.

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Something in that thinking and confident teaching always seemed wrong to me.  And I could never verbalise why.

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And

Now

I

Can.

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Where is my home, justmebeingcurious

Home and us has been a journey. 

And I have come to realise “home” is very simple.

… … …

And that’s where my “home” is. 

And that’s why I have struggled with “church”.

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Why not have a look and see if you have found the right church yet.

Thank you –

 

Paulfg

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I was taught to be unkind

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I was taught about false teachers.  False teachers are of the devil.  False teachers are of soothing words and sleepy listeners.  False teachers are false shepherds – intent only on the destruction of my soul for all eternity.

 

As I continue my journey I am finding that my fear of false teachers is less and less.   I see false teachers too often to fear anymore.  They are everywhere in all corners of my life.  They are not just in church.  They teach society, law, ethics, art, philosophy, science …

Teachers are not just teachers they are friends and strangers and enemies.  They are family, friends and foe.  And the biggest teacher of all is me.

I know.

Is the falsest teacher of all.

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“The kindness of not knowing”, justmebeingcurious

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“I was taught by church – by science – by society – by all around me … To KnowTo Be CertainTo Be SureTo See EvidenceTo See No EvidenceTo Be SureTo Be CertainTo Make Up My MindTo Declare And Defend My PositionTo Take A SideTo Be One Or The Other

And in that teaching I was taught to be unkind.

I was NEVER taught NOT to know.”

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I was taught that not knowing is weakness.  I was taught that I must be correct.  Which means I am either right or I am wrong.  But what is right and wrong if not just the current “majority view” (in and of this world)?

Right and wrong changes.

Slavery was okay.  Loads of possessions wives was okay.  Swearing was okay.  The death penalty was okay.  Burning witches was okay.  Child labour was okay. So much was okay that now is not.  So much that is still not (that one day will be).

I think we forget love without condition when we worry about everything BUT kindness … everything but NOT knowing.

We are taught about the “evidence” of the bible – the false evidence of science (and the same for both – in reverse – by “the other side”).  We are taught about the right or wrong of different faiths and of no faiths.  We are taught and teach all of that “I am right and you are wrong” stuff …

And in that teaching I was taught to be unkind.

But isn’t that …

The biggest “false teaching” of all?

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I am wealthy

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It must be nice to have the luxury to debate these issues

“the Biblical vision of gender”

My Beautiful One

Rebekah wrote a post that connected with immediacy and clarity.

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We are rich in time and, boy oh boy, how we like to waste this wealth!  We are rich enough in time to sit and verbally spar with each other.  We are rich enough in time to dump static opinion and beliefs over each other.  We are rich enough in time enough to examine spiritual “belly-button-fluff” over which we obsess.

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Riches are referred to in the bible over which we obsess.

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And I have found that wealth is taken literally.  Riches are “stuff” of money and purchase.  A big car.  A fine house.  The best jewels.  The finest wine.  All “stuff” we can hold and touch and count and store.

Yet I am rich in so many ways that is nothing to do with I can hold and touch.

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A family living in a place of safety.  A family living in good health.  A family living with excellent and free healthcare 24/7.  A family who takes for granted three meals a day.  The freedom to write words like this and press send to the whole world.  The freedom to be bored, to be restless, to be distracted, to be yearning and spontaneous.  The freedom to live as I wish constrained only by my fears and timidity.

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It must be nice to have the luxury to debate these issues.

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The bible for me becomes ever more simple, ever more connected, ever more immediate.  Call it what you will, debate it as you will … dismiss it as you will … for me there is one great truth that is rejected ONLY if I fear this truth:

‘Love them, me AND you.  Unconditionally.”

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What is to fear?

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Well I used to fear love.

I used to fear not controlling, not measuring, not counting, not receiving, not being in charge.  I used to fear losing all those “riches” I thought of as “love”.  I relied on rules and law and commandments.

Because if I was going to treat you okay I wanted an enforceable contract that said you were going to be grateful and that you were going to treat me okay.  But I wanted a contract with get-out clauses.

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Like … familiarity breeds contempt.  Like … the grass is always greener on the other side.  Like … what I found attractive in you now repels me.  Like … I reserve the right to count whether or not you give me more than I give you.  And the biggie …

It’s only wrong if you catch me in the act

(and even then it’s your fault I felt the need to do it)

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And all of “that” is NOT fear … ?

All of that we think IS “love” … ?

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It must be nice to have the luxury to debate these issues.

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‘Love them, me AND you.  Unconditionally.”

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Riches are riches.

I am wealthy.

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What am I doing with this truth?

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This tiny ten-letter-mustard-seed-phrase

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There are certain word-strings that stick a pin in me.  A very real “ouch” word-string.  And then I have to find out why.  GSHJ does that from time to time.  I can be reading something and “ouch” followed by “What was that for?

It happened with this:  “Have We Made Bible Study Too Simple?”   The first “ouch” was the word ”study” followed closely by another with “we”.

It was Don Merritt who made me aware of me using a “straw-man” in some of my writing: A fictional “they” in order for me to tear down this fictional “they” as evidence for the point I was making.  And the use of “we” is the most-used straw-man.  Because “we” is (almost) the same as “they” – with a twist.  “We” is me being right and you (who should be one of “we”) having to agree with me – because “we” are correct and “they” (who say – incorrectly – that they are “we”) are not.

Ouch.

Then the word “study” in front of “bible”.  Bible Study.   A phrase used so often it is now its own “evidence”: bible study.  This tiny ten-letter-mustard-seed-phrase packed full of institutional religious baggage like this (from the “About Page”): “Missio Alliance began as an initiative of Ecclesia, a relational network of missionally-minded churches and leaders that takes a primary interest in encouraging and equipping church planters.”  Which screams: “We are God Qualified” – unlike like me.  Unless “me” is God Qualified – and then I might be “we”.

Ouch.

Then this from the post: “At the moment I was a bit taken back.  This shut down the conversation.  It was before my days in seminary and honestly, I wasn’t equipped with a good answer.”

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I get a lot of this Paul – I got a lot of this from you in your “early days”.  This dependence on you and your own cleverness – to fit-in – to be seen to have a “good answer”.  To be able to win the argument – to successfully argue me out of the bible and into another (allegedly).  See the infamous Pharisees and Sadducees – all the “sees and cees” (now reborn as “ologies and isms”).  It’s all about cleverness – being seen to have the right answer – to win hearts and minds for me.   And in the process to split and divide – to maintain the God Qualified as gatekeepers for me – to maintain “them” relying on “we” to explain me.

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And I have just created my own straw-man.  The God Qualified (of seminary and theological college).  My direct conversation with God Soft Hands Jesus – my “baggage” of “dividing” those who believe in the same God Soft Hands Jesus as I do – but not “exactly” the same as mine.  My appealing to those who have a similar train of thought – and in the process dismissing those who don’t.

Because if any of us (or they) really lived this “All Are Welcome” fiction – none of this would matter.  It wouldn’t matter what I (or you) believed if we really lived being capable of love without condition – really lived that love can only be love without condition.  Really believed that “love” split into four (God Qualified) Greek words … is putting cleverness in the way of God … causing another to stumble … perhaps a child who loves without condition because love IS without condition.

And that makes us all false teachers – makes us all use and abuse the bible – because we all look at “sinners” and “sin” as some external force to be beaten – we all look to God to save us.

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And there you go again.  Who is “we and us” – and what were you saying about using “we and they”?

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And he is right.  As is the (possible) rebuttal that “Church folk have to talk to church folk – so using a common language saves time.”

Except that I bumped into this “common language” and the language is not “common”.  It is institutional and God Qualified – it is the language of “seminary Church”.

And that keeps me from you – and keeps us ALL from God Soft Hands Jesus and living love that IS love without condition.

Him, you and me.

“All” without condition.

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Takes me back to the good old days when it was just the “sees and cees”!

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