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)

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

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

Song for a brave little man

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Jackie boy Blue
In the loving and living legacy of
Jackson Fineske

Lil’ Jackie boy Blue
Where did you go,
You’re so far away
But I still feel ya too
Lil’ Jackie boy Blue

Blue jays visits my window,
Each morn’in at nine,
He pecks the seeds,
As He looks in my eyes,
I smile and wonder,
When I last sat by your side,
Praying for miracles,
Yet whisp’ring goodbye,
Whisp’ring goodbye.

We heard you talking to Mary,
Our Mother of God,
She was holding you then,
As she’s holding you now,
Your Mama’s holdin you now.

Lil’ Jackie boy Blue,
Where did you go,
You’re so far away,
But I still feel ya too,
Lil’ Jackie boy Blue.

New drugs, procedures, cards, and toys,
Offering your life,
And hope for the next girl or boy,
Known as “Boss”- one tough little man!
Nurses named Mary,
God was watchin and He had plan,
God always has a plan…

Lil’ Jackie boy Blue,
Where did you go,
You’re so far away,
But I still feel ya too,
Lil’ Jackie boy Blue.

All through your pain,
You’d quietly smile,
You said, “Trust in Jesus
And never once complained,
You never once complained.

Lil’ Jackie boy Blue,
Where did you go,
You’re so far away,
But I still feel ya too-
Lil’ Jackie boy Blue.

By Chris Clody
3/16/17

Tears of a King

My morning prayer was consumed within Gethsemane, that dark grotto in the garden where Jesus prayed. His submission to His Father’s will was noted in an extraordinary way. Let’s dare to intrude on Jesus kneeling in the shadows knowing His “soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” wringing with sweat, rupturing the tiniest of blood vessels, “and being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).
Any wonder why we couldn’t keep our eyes open to keep watch, joining Him is supportive prayer while we were outside the garden?
Like in the desert, Jesus, that very real and very human, once again confronts the will of His Father, accepts it, is ministered to by an angel, and presses on.
If you’re wondering about the possibility of Hematidrosis and “sweating blood” know that it happens only under extreme anguish. I believe there is even more symbolism regarding sweat tinged with blood outside of the obvious foreshadowing of His passion. His sweat would be a purplish color; that of a king. Like Mother like Son, Jesus held all these things to Himself – even to the point of death. Is this part of our cross? To bear the weight of anguish for others? If we are to be saved as a community within some bride-like concept, shouldn’t we learn to at least suffer alongside those society loves the least?
In the end, judgment will not fall upon our ability to proclaim His Name or even perform miracles, but rather by the compassionate deeds that illumined the hidden Christ within the thirsty, the hungry, the naked, the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned. Yes, in the end, Jesus will know us by the tears we’ve tasted.

Jesus-Anguish

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Tears of a King,
Drop alone within the silence,
Magenta trails,
Etch hallowed cheeks from my offense.

Not mine but Thine,
Whispers the Man of our Sorrows,
Thy Kingdom come,
After death, scourging, and cock crows.

Accomplished,
A Father’s will redeems mankind,
For those who taste,
The tears He shed and left behind.

By Chris Clody
3/8/17

Forty days to Freedom

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Actually, it wasn’t forty days at all but a need to know why this number is so significant to that little tribe of Jewish nomads who introduced our world to the One True G-d. I encourage you to spend forty minutes of investigation in exploring the concepts of transition and renewal bound to this number. Before long, you may find yourself driven into that wilderness with Jesus who thwarts temptation with the words from the fifth book of the Pentateuch, Deuteronomy. My friend and guide has further illumined David’s confrontation with Goliath, this malevolent giant surrounded by 6’s (6 cubits high, 6 weapons, and 60 shekels heavier wearing his snakelike, scaly  armor). This very beast of creation who boasted of capturing the Ark of the Covenant and brought it to the temple of Dragon stood and taunted the Israelites during their morning and evening prayers. Yet it was out in this wilderness that David defeats Goliath of Gath (one of five city states of the Philistines) with but a sling and five stones drawn from a brook. Using the smoothest stone, let’s guess and call it the fifth stone, he kills this enormous Philistine by hitting him where we all must keep the Torah, the five books of God’s wisdom.

I’ll let the numbers 5, 666, and 40 stretch your contemplation but let’s not do that on an empty stomach. How about enjoying the five fruits in honor of the Jewish holiday of Tu BiShvat seder.  Here we enjoy fruits in the following order: olives, figs, grapes, dates, and pomegranates. When you eat an olive, it’s bitter and you spit the pit out right away. You’ll then you eat the sweet fig and maybe roll that pit around in your mouth for a little longer. The grapes are sweet yet the seeds are so small.  Sometimes you spit these crunchy little seeds out, swallow them, or get wedged between teeth. However, when you eat a date, the seeds cannot be separated from the fruit and eaten as a whole. Finally, the epitome (sorry couldn’t resist!) of fruits, is the pomegranate, that tempting “apple” of Eden, in which the seed is actually the fruit! This transition from an unwanted pit to actual fruit encourages our transition from Genesis to Deuteronomy (and hopefully the fruits of our labor).

Just a note regarding another seder, the Passover (Pesach), which encourages young and old alike to retell Exodus as if they were there in the dust and commotion. One of the most emphasized themes of this seder is Freedom. In fact one of the four names of Passover is Hag ha-Herut (The Feast of Freedom).

In the end, we are given a chance at faith, to be pushed, driven, tested, and transformed into a renewed retelling of our life in G-d. We begin as rough rocks allowing the water of the Word to wash over us, rounding sharp edges to become that smooth stone hopefully chosen by a (soon to be) King. We must run thirsty into the desert and face our own wilderness and realize our only battle is using the words Jesus himself chose from the living stream of Torah. This Jew, named Jesus, who came “…only for the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24), also claimed to be the fulfillment of Torah. Like the seeds of a date, Jesus cannot be separated from Torah, nor should Christianity not see Torah as a transformative and living gift from G-d. Just as passionately as Jesus wanted to gather the Jews as a hen to her chicks, so must Christianity embrace the Torah beyond its shallow understanding and truly bring a culminating awareness to what the Gospel writers are hoping to convey. Christianity exegetes the seeds from dates without realizing their integral part of the flesh.

Remember, we all must be transformed in Christ. Truly every seed must die, slowly transform, offering unexpected new life, freedom, and flesh for the world. Now consider the seed of a pomegranate…consider true freedom.

Shalom,
Chris

When God Grieves

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“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