Saturday, June 25, 2011

Another definition of sin

Another Definition of Sin

I’ve heard many definitions of sin. Most of them actually deal with what many would say is the appearance of sin. Things like smoking, drinking, sex outside of marriage, etc. One definition is “missing the mark.” Sounds more appropriate, don’t you think? Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel says. “sin is the refusal of the human to be who we are.” WOW. That really says it all. We miss the mark when we don’t live up to our potential.

God wants to say something!

Are you Listening?
God wants to say something. “There are some changes you need to make immediately in your life. Pay attention to these guidelines.”

  • Quit worrying: Why are you worrying anyway. I am here to take all your burdens and carry them for you or did you forget?
  • Put it on the list: Not your list. Put it on MY to-do list. You can’t fix it anyway (though I know you sometimes think you can) but I can’t help you until you turn it over to ME.
  • Trust me: Now why are you trying to take it back after you just put stuff on MY to-do- list? You’ve got to trust ME. Whatever the problems-problems with the kids, problems with your finances, problems with your relationships? I will take care of it. All you have to do is ask – and leave it in MY hands.
  • Leave it alone: Don’t wake up thinking, “OK, I’m feeling better. I can handle it from here.” No the hell you can’t!!! Oh, excuse ME. Don’t get it twisted. The reason you feel stronger is because I renewed your strength. I’m giving you the peace you’re feeling. Forget about those problems. You gave them to ME. Now let ME do my job.
  • Talk to me: Forget the problems, worries, etc but please don’t forget to talk to ME. I LOVE YOU. Talk to me about your friends, family, desires, etc. I want to be your dearest friend. Prayer is just having a conversation with ME.
  • Have faith: Have faith that I know what I’m doing. Trust me. How easy is that?
  • Share: Share with those less fortunate than yourself. Share your joy with someone who needs encouragement. Share your laughter, share your tears. Share your faith with those who have none.
  • Be patient: Kind of funny that you get so impatient when it takes ME longer than you expect or think it should take for Me to handle your issues. I know I created the entire universe in six days but even then, I did not rush. Everything in its time. I know what I’m doing.
  • Be kind: Be kind to others, for I love them as much as I love you. I created each of you different in some way. I didn’t want robots.
  • Love yourself: How can you not love yourself? You were created for one reason-to be loved and to love in return. I love you. Love ME. Love your neighbors. But also love yourself. You are very precious to ME.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Who is this God?

I’ve touched on this before but it bares another entry. What do you believe about God? How do you experience and know God? Are you wondering about what you’ve been taught to believe about God and what you are feeling, hidden in your heart? Maybe you have begun to question some things. Are you having trouble reconciling the God of the Bible with a God of unconditional love?
The god in the Bible seems to have respect of persons (Jews are favored over everyone else). The god of the Bible speaks of unconditional love on the one hand and damnation and punishment if you do not love and serve him. In fact, you will be damned to an eternity of fire and torment if you do not serve him. The god of the Bible then is about conditional love. Love him and serve him or else be forever tormented. Sounds like the message of most churches: believe and serve god our way or you will go to hell.

So how is the god of the Bible so vindictive and capable of such awful things-in his name and so loving that he sent his son to die for us so we would not be in torment forever?

The truth of the matter is, most who believe in a god, no matter what you name him/her/it believe that this god will punish you or those not of your faith with an awful eternity for not following his dictates. Most believe that it is our duty to get rid of literally or figuratively those who do not believe as we were taught. We see it every day. Look at those behind 911 and other hate groups right here in America. Why else would one group of Africans, Muslims, Asians, Americans, Catholics, Protestants, etc want to kill or separate from another group of Africans, Muslims, Asians, Americans, Catholics, Protestants, etc? Most religions have a punishment attached. Did you notice that? It’s hard to believe in and feel safe with a god who will throw you into a never-ending fire for eternity if you slip up!!! So if I commit adultery, get drunk, steal something, tell a lie maybe just one time but if I die before I can ask for forgiveness, I will burn in hell for eternity. BTW-when does eternity begin? I thought eternity was forever which means it can’t begin at death but that’s another story. Hard to live with love in your heart for that kind of god, isn’t it?

Is this really God? Does not the Bible say that nothing, no thing, shall separate me from the love of God? Romans 8:38-39. God wants everyone to come to repentance, 2 Peter 3:9, so why did he create a world where he knew so many would not come to repentance? Isn’t God all knowing? Therefore he knew Adam and Eve would mess it up for everyone. That’s what I was taught in church. I have wondered why God would put Adam and Eve in the garden with the tree that they should not touch AND THEN POINT THE TREE OUT TO THEM! What’s up with that??? Speaking of all knowing, didn’t he know 1/3 of the angels were plotting against him? So what happened? Did they sneak up on him unawares and he was surprised? Makes you wonder about what we’ve been taught, don’t it? But I digress. And parent, teacher, grand parent or anyone who has dealings with children know that if you tell a child not to do something, that is the very thing they are going to do. Happens with adults too. Perfect example is the wet paint sign. Inevitably, someone will touch the painted area whether the sign says don’t touch or not. It’s an open invitation. So not only did God already know Adam and Eve would mess up, he set them up to mess up. Uh oh. Blasphemy! How dare I say such a thing? Read it for yourself. My take on this is that Adam and Eve were frolicking in the garden, having fun, swinging out the trees, maybe even THAT tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told Adam not to eat of that tree Genesis 2:17. Why not wait until he had created Eve and tell them both together? Better yet, leave the tree out of the garden all together. How about that? God also created all the animals and tells us in Genesis 3:1 that the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. Never mind that the serpent spoke to Eve. Probably everything spoke and could be heard and understood back then. We have to work at hearing nature speak today. WTH??? Looks like a set up to me. Can you now see how our beliefs are shaped by society, our parents, our church, our culture but not by us?

There discussion will be continued.

Let’s look further into this. The god of the Old Testament is vengeful and gets angry and doesn’t show at lot of love at times. First of all, only blood sacrifices appease him. Then there is what happened in Judges 21 where the Israelites attacked Jabesh-gilead and killed every man, woman and child EXCEPT 400 virgins which were given in marriage but there were still men of the tribe of Benjamin who did not get a wife. So the Israelites went to Shiloh, during the feast of the Lord, hid in the vineyards and took the daughters of Shiloh who came to the vineyards to dance. By the way, they also had an answer in case the fathers/brothers of the daughters of Shiloh came to complain. The last verse of this chapter says, “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” V. 25. There is nothing written about any consequences coming to the Israelites. Surely God knew and therefore condoned what happened.

WOW. Lot of killing and raping and everything else going on with God’s knowledge and dare I say it, blessings toward the children of Israel. Is this the God of love I’ve come to know? Or is this the god created by the people of old? In Judges 11, we see God accepting a human burnt offering because of the oath made by Jephthah. We know in Genesis 22, Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Isaac when God stopped him. Why one and not the other? Why human sacrifice at all? I’m just saying.

A lot to think about. Don’t take my word for it. Read it for yourself. Read what Judges 11 says about slavery. And we wonder why hate groups like the KKK use the Bible as their reference for the awful things they do. Question everything. Let me say that again. Question everything.