Still don’t know what we’re doing…

weptI wonder when the influence of art, culture, and religious politics convinced the mainstream that peering at a crucifixion was a message of love. Bear with me… on a subtle point that continues to steal from the curiously faithful.

Yes. I know. God is Love and sent His begotten from the depths of that love.

Yet, crucifixion, and the events leading up to this politically motivated homicide (that unknowingly fulfilled scripture) also had a purpose of taking the sin of humanity and putting it on display.

Our sin is and will always be violence. Remember…”Forgive them Father for they no not what they’re doing.”

When we categorize sin we also dilute our greater need for the death of Christ. Furthermore, when some dwell on how ‘lovely’ is ‘Our’ Jesus mounted within a sanitized setting above an altar or others look upon cross without His corpse, we continue to forget humanity’s greatest fault for the Trinity’s greatest virtue. When we lose ourselves in Divine Love we begin to only see ourselves as important. Hence the popularity of a ‘personal relationship with G-d’ and “You Matter” yard signs that perpetually feeds an obese ego. Jesus, I believe, became man so we could focus on human relationships not worship some faraway G-d no one quite understood. He also confronted our need for power with a challenge to love instead. Violence corrodes everything it touches. Its insidious blight leaves many lonely, poor, persecuted, or dead. Hopefully now when we stare long enough at the image of the crucifixion we may come to the understanding that we are saved as a community not some pious winner of Heaven’s golden ticket – because we are so loved.

It is not about you or me but respecting the dignified Image breathed within all of us. How can we ever expect to be known by our Judge when we never loved Him within another. No– you really don’t matter more than we matter.

Motivated by the indelible image atop of Calvary, the faith instilled into a disciple becomes fearless by example and courageous words of peace when faced by humanity’s knee-jerk aggression, even unto death.

Make sense?

Now, treat yourself and read the Beatitudes!

Love one another.
Chrisnyfireman

Why The Egg Came First…

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The egg.  “The incredible, edi…” – sorry that was my 70’s indoctrination. I will somehow try to approximate the Trinity using this remarkable orb but not the way you’re probably expecting.  All analogies that attempt to convey the unknown seem to hit the ground running before they are limping to a cliff behind a pack of  disillusioned lemmings. However, what I want to convey is a simple truce for the ongoing domestic dispute between science and religion. Since analogies are particularly powerful among children, then those who not only still play but actually ‘believe all’ may find this as exciting as golden memories of sitting unrestrained in the back of a station wagon, a fistful of allowance, heading towards Toys R Us.

Okay, my sad analogy of this boundless, ever-giving, Triune Deity is relating it to an egg.  That same uncreated phenomena between the Father, Son, and Spirit offering fully of themselves to each other. That same incredibly diverse yet profoundly equal functions and measure finally decide it is high time to share their relational energy and allows their egg of wonder to crack. The Spirit, like the cleaving of atoms, explodes out with unprecedented force, sight, and sound.  The ever-creative energy shared within the Wonder Egg, fusing vapors and dust within the swirling centrifugation of planetary new formations begins to expand towards the infinite darkness. From the vulnerable crack, a Big Bang, shakes the billions of newborn galaxies within the universe. Life begins the very moment the Trinity becomes vulnerable.  Life actually flows from the wounded side of this extraordinary analogy.  Love allows the necessary violence to open itself to others at the sacrifice of remaining whole. Love when offered without condition is an unequaled force designed to disrupt the status quo and create life.

Soooo…yea…the egg definitely came first.

Within in every underlying precept of the biblical thread, is some sort of going out and returning back.  The return is never fruitless.  Like the word of God that never comes back void.  Eventually, we will return to the very “crack” the Spirit went out from.  I know by now you are hoping the lemmings along with my analogy has parachutes, so I’m grateful for your patience in not tapping out.

Ultimately I want to invite you to unpack some thoughts and see how well they apply to you:

  1. The diversity and love within this triune relationship.  How is this diversity reflected in your faith, your church, and your friends?
  2. Omnipotence, Ever-Powerful, and All-Knowing are well touted virtues y’All Mighty Creator.  Yet Creator is an ever-creative virtue that continuously proves its propensity through evolution and especially adaptation.  Nature always finds a way. As selfishness, arrogance, and entitled cultures, ignore the ramifications of our continuous assault upon our planet ambivalent that nature will find a way, what can we expect for our future?  What will happen with glacial calving then melting, coral bleaching, oil spills, floating trash islands, and over fishing?  Remember Nature will find a way.  Maybe a new order of water-borne species exquisitely adaptive to our flagrant disregard? Maybe an apex species? Maybe some awakening of a dormant algae or even a leviathan to go out from its slumber and return its sea to order by whatever violence necessary.
  3. Has your faith, expression of worship, seem frozen in language, ritual, tradition, inequality, and/or patriarchy?  Have you and I grown docile and content with being subservient to a power base, those Keepers of the Keys of knowledge?  How will Nature find a way to reflect the ever-creative Triune force and mutual life-giving love within and through this situation?
  4. Finally, let us end with love.  Without love we would have literally never existed. Has the love of a Messiah, which did not return void to the Father, drench us in gratitude.  Will we, even within Christendom, ever stop crucifying one another? Will we be brave enough to open our side, inviting others into our self love-realm? Has the love of G-d and love of neighbors been replaced by religion worshipping itself? Does Sunday seem so distant from the initial decision to share uncreated, original love with exclusionary fallacies of original sin? Has the Spirit convinced you that your soul is yearning for a divine relationship instead of human authority?

Ever

Ever Ancient,
Ever New,
Ever-patient,
Nature will break through.

Unrestrained,
And wild,
He will return,
To reconcile.

Stiff-necked slaves,
Keep two masters,
Keys build empires,
Wolves become pastors.

Vulnerable,
Life is bled,
Soul-drenched and weary,
His disciples are fed.

Reunion,
Draws nigh,
Inviting my soul,
Through Christ my guide.

Lord, awaken me from my slumber!

 

Christian Porn…

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If we dared to dip more of our big toe into the cool, clear waters of G-d’s love we may never experience the depth of transformation our Savior can offer.  Through out my neighborhood, I’m encouraged yet pensive by seeing the little “You Matter” signs advertising a local big, box church.  Certainly the love of G-d for every Image-bearer is inexhaustible.  This type of keen marketing has led to building multiple sites with many satisfied attendees.  Yet bad theology is no different from self-serving pornography objectifying the mission of Christ without chancing the intimacy of experiencing His relationship with the marginalized. The blood sacrifice hyped from the popular mainstream pulpits or stages, has left nothing for the hearer to do but be joyful and grateful.  Joy and gratitude are wonderful psychological building blocks for a healthy mind.  Both add a sense of patience and positivity to a friendly perspective. Was obtaining a state of joy and gratitude the reason for sending a Savior?

Is there more than “You Matter”?

What does it mean to be a disciple? What does G-d really envision for our lives? What really is the “purpose driven” life? Is scripture more than an inspirational tool that ingratiates a selfish sense of self-piety wrapped in the white-washed sheets of self worth and gratitude? …but “You Matter”?

Instead of the false cloaks of “spiritual awareness” and vanity of “gifts”, what if we wrapped ourselves in what we profess as sin?  What if we became that sin you find worthy for the heat of Hell and pleaded for forgiveness? Seriously…”You Matter”!

Good theology finds true freedom to fearlessly protest the oppression of any Image-bearer of G-d. Pick your favorite hatred or prejudice, button-up, and become one with those you despise.  Plead for their forgiveness even when they do not understand. Becoming at-one with atonement theory allows the curious disciple to plumb the depth of the final plea from a crucified Messiah; “Father forgive them for they know not what they do!”

If your religion has an obsession with purity codes or vices that justify a Hell for the sinners they envy… run.

If only joy and gratitude from hearing such a “wonderful message” fill your Sundays…run.

If your hear a message that ‘cuts to the heart’… stay.

Unless we are moved to spew more than a “good word“, we will only cool the big toe of our curiosity.  We must realize John 3:16 builds the mind and soul towards the new freedom without fear – even that of persecution or death. Unless we become wrapped in our neighbor’s oppression we will cheat ourselves of ever knowing a G-d willing to bleed for us! Otherwise the cross is just a murderous, Roman tool of fear void of any meaning of our Father’s scandalous love for the Image we bear.

Its not about you. Fearlessness Matters.

“I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace.
In the world you face persecution.
But take courage; I have conquered the world!”
John 16:33
(NRSV)

Nothing Ever Dies.

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Nothing ever truly dies…ever.
Eventually, our earth suits fail. Reality’s lottery that cuts short time together with loved ones is devastating. For the eyes dim to what awaits beyond the precipice of our mortality gains my greatest of sorrows. Even in the waning moments before the heart fails, the shadow of grief gleans a silver-lining to see past unbelief, knowledge, and distractions. The veil thins as our breathing becomes shallow and labored allowing a new transparency to an unknown hope.
One must wonder while simultaneously galled at the factors that keep hope away from a precious life.  If nothing ever dies and Christ freely offers Himself as ‘life itself’, then what part of Pascal’s gamble (at the least) keeps His light from drawing the curious mind like a moth to a light? Jesus allowed the Gospel free reign to spread to the four corners of the world. Surely He knew that the recipients of this ‘Good News’ would domesticate what should be wild for the sake of building an empire. However, all empires are built upon sifting sand. Only Kingdoms are built upon solid rock. Despite the unsavory history of dolling out salvation, the Savior sent His Spirit to continue what Jesus began allowing hope to transcend what was never meant to be imprisoned.
Nothing, especially hope, ever dies. Nevertheless, the patience exhibited by the Creator to spoon-feed His joy endures even now. Watching His baby grow into the awareness of His love, regardless of wobbly first steps, falls, and tantrums. Yet Torah found some rich soil to dive deep down and drink and feed a healthy shoot. The discussions allowed plenty of shade for the best attempts to define the ever-present light that warmed the outside of their broadening leaves. When time came for sending an obedient and compassionate Messiah, He sent His only Son, Jesus. Obedient even unto death to fulfill the immeasurable concept of a Creator’s love.
Thankfully, power, hatred, ignorance, and inequality do die. Mortality makes short work of any man who is convinced he is more than what he was meant to be. Mortality quiets every rogue and savage heart to frightened children shivering in the dark. The dark they face is their greatest regret when eternity makes them aware of the True Light that could warm their goosebumps into a soft, golden glow while chasing away the cold and damp darkness stiffening their joints. Eternity offers no escape for the prideful to review their tragic missteps along a path seen through humble and hopeful eyes.
The food, the Bread of God, is an irresistible will we are given to digest. With the hope of Christ aflame within, the sorrow, the mourning, the oppressed, and marginalized is transformed within the white-hot, crucible of True Love. The dross rises, leaving behind what is amazing and beautiful. This freedom cannot die for it is fearless. The spoon-feeding through the power of man, reduces a chance to savor the viaticum. Instead, stagnant traditions are ritualized, as if frozen in fear unwilling to release the string holding a kite from rising. Hesitant pastors offer milk to a babe instead of meat for discipleship. Nevertheless, the Creator loves and pours mercy, the very gift of a Father’s soul, to especially those who need it most. Some crawl and never learn to walk. Some begin to walk and never run. Some simply fly. Each servant is offered equality of God’s treasury. Love will draw even the slowest movements towards hope with abundant reward.
You see we cannot truly die because God’s love holds us all.
Move towards what cannot be resisted.
Christ, by our light.

Vigil of Hope

For now, Saturday, the flickering candle is our timepiece.  Today we see and hear nothing but the silence intended for the prayerful. From 3 pm yesterday till now, the word ‘forsaken’ has gathered great momentum and space within our minds.  We are left bracing ourselves unaware tomorrow trades joy for our ashes.  Emmanuel!

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Son of Man

Crowned and striped,
For all to see,
Son of God,
Nailed to a tree,
Sweet Jesus have mercy on me.

A new wine,
Pours from His wounds,
Giving His all,
Embracing doom,
His last exhale becomes perfume.

He’s Taken down,
His body wrapped,
Our God is dead,
Becomes a fact.
Sweet Jesus dies for what I lack.

Wait! Something new,
A barren tomb,
He has risen!
Returning soon,
Seen as Conqueror or Bridegroom.

Friend and brother,
Prophet, Priest, and King,
Mediator,
Heir of all things,
Emmanuel!
Deliverer,
The Word of God,
The Good Shepherd.
Light of the World,
The Prince of Peace,
Help me forgive,
Those I love the least.
Sweet Jesus, have mercy on me!

By Chris Clody
4/15/17

Listen Up…

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Listen To My Son

Listen to My Son,
In Him I Am well pleased,
He is My Word made flesh,
Whose whisper calms the sea,
Whose name when mentioned heals,
and from which Satan flees.
My glory shines within his eyes,
Casting angels to their knees.
He is The Resurrection,
A Saving Prince of Peace,
He is your Good Shepherd,
Sacrificed for his sheep,
He is The Bread of God,
You must eat to increase,
He is Aleph v’Tav,
Who makes the unborn leap,
Your Prophet, Priest, and King,
For whom all sinners weep.
The firstborn of the dead,
Returning as a thief,
Be watchful and listen,
And pray before you sleep.

Listen to My Son,
In Him I AM well pleased.

By Chris Clody
4/1/17

Moses Redux… Sunday’s Comin’

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A New Moses

A New Moses splits Jordan’s smooth surface,
Fulfillment through the first-borne has begun,
Illumined Dove descends like dewfall’s kiss,
Time for Messiah has finally come,
Agape’s gaze follows His Only Son.

A light the darkness cannot understand,
Yet for the heart there is nowhere to run,
Boats and nets abandoned for this God-man,
Anxiously seeking this Kingdom at hand.

Jerusalem welcomes this Man of Sorrows,
Shouts of praise amid palm-blanketed sands,
Still death’s dark clouds await His tomorrow.

Nevertheless, death is overwhelmed through love,
True Life, resurrection, rises with the Illumined Dove.

By Chris Clody
3/28/2017