Just One Question?

I find no greater peace than walking my dogs before the dawn and praying the Rosary. Today, as I entered into the imagery of Jesus carrying his cross, I was further silenced in the symbolism of the cross and its shape of a “t“. As I surrendered to the last mystery of his crucifixion, a horror and beauty only G-d could hold, I was given this question:
Was Jesus nailed to :
theology
or
the poor,
*  they who mourn,
*  the meek,
*  they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
*  the merciful,
*  the pure of heart,
*  the peacemakers,
*  they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness?

Shouldn’t each plight of the latter be considered?
Who are these people? …before you answer that consider the following quote:

“I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.”
– Dorothy Day

 

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Become Peace,

Chris

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When The Bee Stings

PortraitsOfTheWorld_suffering_by_delirium77

יְהֹוָה

When the bee stings,
a child’s tear erupts
A mother kisses away the pain
When the son disrespects;
his father disciplines,
Trust flowers anew,
Forgiveness blooms in request.
When Torah is celebrated;
His commands galvanize the beating heart
His Laws of Love infuses every jot and title,
Yeshiva lifts eyes to Sinai,
Love of יְהֹוָה and neighbor becomes a Temple.
When Profound Love finds favor;
A handmaid sings,
The Song of Hannah echoes once again,
A virgin is overshadowed,
Magnified is the soul of Theotokos.
When a Son is given;
A Way is infleshed,
A Truth awakens dim eyes,
A Life is revealed,
Magi honor a newborn King,
Psalm 19 finds its voice.
When the Olive is pressed;
Bled is Another’s will,
Stripes give healing,
A thorny crown pricks a King,
Via Doloroso is carved by His cross,
When the Son of God is crushed,
Blood and water baptize the earth,
The choir moans in silent expectation,
Obedience gives up His Ghost.
The Father’s tear anoints a gate through Heaven.
When faith, hope, and charity are sowed,
Crosses are hoisted and yoked to the downtrodden,
A disciple craves love of God and neighbor
The poor are fed,
The naked clothed,
The slave is set free,
The forgotten are welcomed,
Warmth and hope visit the sick and imprisoned,
The church gathers in song and praise.
Happy are the many
When unity is challenged, it offers strength
When friendship is betrayed, forgiveness is availed
When hope is pressured, patience abounds,
When faith is oppressed, fear evaporates,
When charity becomes human, creation finally evolves.

By Chris Clody,
5/26/17

 

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

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)

When God Grieves

weptOy vey…

“Did Jesus make living Torah easier?” was asked by my pastor at a bible study last night.
**Warning:  If you are comfortable with the status quo of Christian theology then please exit out.**

Still here? Wooohooo! This question will lead you on an insatiable quest, reuniting the very living scope of the Old and New Covenant.  The moment will come when you realize the beauty of Jesus and a hijacked perspective morphing further and further from the totality of Jewish teaching, culture and practice fulfilled by this God-man called Jesus.  Ask yourself how the promise of freedom, hope, rest, and privilege could be truly understood and taught by those already at the top of the food chain?  Could someone write a book about birth without ever going through pregnancy, labor, and delivery? It may be technically correct but disingenuous.  Everyday is a new as I the present business of Christianity is peeled away, layer by layer, revealing new and more resplendent facets shimmering atop Mt. Sinai to even death upon a cross.  The writings of St. Paul have brighter meanings and not the ramblings of a zealous Jew refusing to use punctuation.  The Old Testament that once thought foreshadowed can now be seen through the lens of Sinai as a repetitive rubric that Jesus embraced perfectly.

Anywho, the question at hand: Did Jesus ever at He could make living the this life bound by Torah any easier?  As always, my answer awaits hidden in my morning Rosary.  Yep…I just said that.  You see the rosary is a discipline of seeing significant events of a son of Mary and Son of God through the unmatched intimacy of the eyes of a mother (a second class citizen).

My answer is “yes”.  Ultimately by what He said in John 14:26(NIV): “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”  It is in the understanding that this Advocate is also described as a Comforter. I also enjoy pondering the ‘jealousy’ component of this hidden, Omniscient One.

Current Christianity prefers slippery and blurred concepts exposing a pitiful disconnect between salvation and the Kingdom at hand.  Salvation finds a post life existence further detached from Paul’s plea to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling“(Phil 2:12:NIV).  A life in Torah espousing a life and prayer and service leading to (a present) salvation awakens the Christian slumber to a Kingdom in our midst and our accountability to love God and our neighbor. Otherwise, to ignore the Comforter is to grieve God.

His Peace,
Chris

LOST IN THE FOG OF GRACE

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Grace, the reception of unmerited favor, has derailed Western Christianity not because of its innate capacity but because through misinterpretation. The favor and beauty of unmerited mercy does indeed have a cost. It is not given merely for lip service when juicing regretful memories but in our willingness to seek Christ while offering to also carry His cross through the eyes of empathy and compassion. The reason the pure of heart sees G_d is because they have no hesitation, no filter, no willingness to see other than Christ in the heart of another’s need. The Kingdom at Hand is glimpsed by those who strive to see the purity through radical charity. Every knee bows alongside the downtrodden, the orphan, the widow, the refugee, the hungry, the naked, the lonely, and forgotten to bring friendship alongside to those who need it most. The corporate business aspects of Christianity refuses to bow that knee. From the burning bush to the ascension, Christ did not come to establish a corporation built on the ten percent of union fees. The crucifixion came to as warning signs posted atop Calvary and the Resurrection as a direction towards mercy. Unfortunately, Heaven’s signposts is also surrounded by a dense fog of misinterpretation. True Christian actions is assaulted by hateful defense mechanism built by power and greed. Why? Because the “Good News” is true liberation for ANY bearing the weight of oppression. The distractions of escapism incorporated into misunderstood grace is exemplified by the lie of the Rapture, continues to find hungry ears in the savvy consumerism of Western culture. For those to hardened for a kenotic journey towards purity of heart illuminated by Torah and gently taught on the Sermon of the Mount, they will be offered unmerited favor through the lifting of their cross.
Blood will still drip from the hands of preachers and ears of their believers during judgment of their willingness to partake in saving mercy. Every soul will be judged. There will be no free pass via “Christ the Spaceman” sucking up those who raised only their hands and voices in some emotional church service. Transparency and corruption, along with all evil doing will have no place on Earth’s New Heaven. YHWH is love as is the purity of His mercy and simplicity of His divine faithfulness.
Christianity has sold its soul to political recognition and ephemeral gain. Truly, if Christ was the Lord of our life then discussions and actions would gather humble and candid expressions of concern instead of hateful vitriol and polarization. When will the soul famished for divine mercy be granted a seat at the table of Christ’s abundance? When will transparency in the corporate structures of religion and politics offer a clear view of a waiting bride walking through the Kingdom’s Garden?

How long Lord? How much longer do we wait?

His Peace,
Chris

The Gift

Sunday is comin’…

Sweet Repose

images cross

Your sacrifice is my only treasure,
That clothes me in priestly purple,
The crown You give inflames my endeavor,
Defining life’s endless circle,
By love; Holy and eternal.

O Redeemer, my sweet repose,
Ancient Love, so rich and fertile,
David’s Root blooms through a Mystical Rose,
Whose prickling thorns grow inward and painful,
Cut down for sin – yet still arose,
Fin’lly reaching Heaven for us below.

Sacred seed chooses a holy garden,
Incarnate blossom from a joyful rose,
Resurrection softens clay once hardened,
Fragrant is Your way to sinful pardon.

O Redeemer, my sweet repose,
Ancient Love, so rich and fertile,
David’s Root blooms through a Mystical Rose,
Whose prickling thorns grow inward and painful,
Cut down for sin – yet still arose,
Fin’lly reaching Heaven for us below.

O Spouse of my soul, how sweet is thy kiss,
Whilst begging our forgiveness hanging from your wrists,
Save your servant from the darkened Abyss,
And vouchsafe reunion within Trinity’s bliss.

by Chris Clody 3/15/15