Friday, 23 August 2013

"Jesus wants to save Christians - a manifesto for the Church in exile"

Hi Mike - and copied to Jon

Thanks for lending me the book that Jon had done sometime ago but I had not read it.  When you were pushing pedals across France and Switzerland, I got down to reading it and tried to finish it before you got back but, it was not to be.  I now need your address to return it to you - please.

Presumably, the title of the book referred to Christians no longer living in exile as punishment for departing God's ways.  Christ said, "My Kingdom is not of this world".  For me, His Kingdom is not about living richly or living violently or having an empire.  Yet, the nation with highest proportion of Bible believing Christians is the only superpower and has the only empire.  The USA is the most devout and religious nation on earth.  Therefore, Christians certainly need saving, from what I see.  But their exile is most comfortable and pleasant - with the highest standard of living in the world!

Billy Graham and the Vietnam War
The book is fine, as far as it goes, in my opinion. I suppose Rob Bell can hardly go further or he would not sell many copies.  I always want our Christian leaders to be much more outspoken.  I approve of people like Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo who have been - certainly more so than the telly evangelists and Billy Graham.  Billy wasn't even able to condemn the Vietnam War but went out twice, to give succour, comfort and support to the occupying troops.  Troops who were using chemical weapons, too, to help kill an unknown number of Vietnamese but numbering anything between one and three million, I have read.  The population having WMD used on them, killed 58,000 Americans in a most unequal exchange.  Attacking Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos for 16 years was an act of aggression.  The vast majority of Christian believers saw no need to boycott the war.  And the Christian West was finally and ignominiously defeated, too, in 1975!

Only the sex industry is shunned!
For years, I have been horrified by Christians shunning the sex industry but rarely the arms industry and armed forces at times when we have been doing the invasion, bombing and occupation of 23 nations since 1945, according to two sources I have quoted in the attached file, 'Scotland's Independence push' (see this blog).

My fresh interpretation of Christ's first temptation
Rob Bell says its a 'manifesto for the Church in exile'.  I feel the Church is in the world, of the world and thoroughly conformed to the world.  I know that I am only any better by at least writing and protesting at our wars of aggression and refusing to vote for the war parties.  However, I have conformed to the world, the flesh and the devil by failing to reject the first temptation - by turning stones into bread.  For me, this means taming nature and enjoying the very comfortable and materially rich life that has resulted.  But, it is not sustainable or, eternal or, everlasting that is the only kind of eternity for heaving humanity I am at all interested in these days!

Pilgrims or claimants?
Humanity lives poorly and extends its life span on the planet, as the native Americans, Maoris and Aborigines did.  Or, as we are doing, we live richly and have a correspondingly shorter time span.  Our sojourn should be as pilgrims not as righteous claimants of all that we can lay our hands on as quickly possible and as much as possible, in the name of economic growth or, economic prosperity.  This is my very alternative and eccentric interpretation of the first temptation!

Absolutely fabulous
I raise my hands in unholy horror at what I read of Israel's history in the Old Testament.  Repeated, in very small part over the last 65 years of happy homeland but persistent insecurity and loss of friendship from the surrounding nations.  For me, this makes Israel a failed state, even though it is part of the almighty, all powerful West.  And, Israel has its enormous arsenals of WMD and conventional weaponry, too.  " 'Not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit', says the Lord."  Christians, Messianic Jews and orthodox Jews may say that but, the opposite is done.  True peace (prisons empty of Palestinians, friendship, harmony, peaceful co-existence) for Israel is as far away as ever.  And the righteous in the Lord don't go for compromise or want peace talks, either.  Absolutely fabulous - I don't think!!

The Christian West; not the Muslim Arabs
The best part of the book was the revelation contained in Endnotes pages 209 to 210 that even General Eisenhower believed "that dropping the Bomb (on Japan) was completely unnecessary ... "  But, my own cynical view:- very necessary for the politicians, of course, to try it in the field and in anger!  And, Eisenhower was not a politician in 1945.  In addition, we can't blame the Muslim Arabs for the 20th century being the most evil - simply from the sheer number of humans slaughtered by the Christian West and part Christian/part Communist Russia/USSR - in the history of humanity.

Give up your coat and get a sword, all you true believers!
While I'm on the subject of Christians so actively engaged in violence or, enthusiastically voting for the war parties in US, UK and Israel, my Bible has a footnote in explanation of Luke 22 v 36.  "The sword apparently meant to Jesus a preparation to live by one's own resources against hostility.  The natural meaning of v 38 is that the disciples supposed he spoke of an actual sword, only to learn that two swords were sufficient for the whole enterprise, ie. were not to be used at all."  For me, it looks as though the disciples took Jesus literally with their literal and over-enthusiastic interpretation that if Jesus wants them to have one sword, they will be so obedient that they will do even better and double up whatever military weaponry Jesus allows them - exactly as we do, today!  But Christ says, "It is enough." (v 38) Or, in weary despair, 'You don't get it.  That's enough of that nonsense.'

'Machine Gun Preacher'
The book and film, 'Machine Gun Preacher' is an oxymoron.  Yet, all too true of the last 1700 years of Christian practice and behaviour in too gladly following the Lord's irony in 'commanding' to 'swap your coat for a gun.'

God's special, Chosen Nation
So there you have my honest to God thoughts at my 65 years of living for as long as dear Israel who, thankfully will outlast me into eternity as the one and only Chosen Nation out of 193!

All the best


Thursday, 22 August 2013

The new Sovereign is commanded to keep to the royal Law contained in the Bible

From Wikipedia:
At the Coronation, for a thousand years, there is included this part:
"Once the taking of the oath concludes, an ecclesiastic presents a Bible to the Sovereign, saying 'Here is Wisdom; This is the royal Law; These are the lively Oracles of God.'[24]"

What a pity the Monarchs, down the centuries, have not been more zealous in keeping to God's Law contained in the Bible.

Or, perhaps they have, with this Book of books containing the most bloodthirsty chapters of murder and genocide, including Rules for Waging Holy War in Deuteronomy 20 v 1-20.  We have God commanding the most extraordinary episodes of aggression against other nations that is unique among the world's religious Scriptures.
Down the centuries, English/UK and European monarchs have certainly enthusiastically embraced these unholy examples of God's work.  Hence, those centuries of European warfare, culminated in the two world wars.  Actually, wars about empire, domination and defending the parts of the planet under our ownership against other European nations.  The exact opposite of temptation no 3 that Jesus Christ rejected but, not our monarchs and rulers and our masters who, of course, always know better.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Charity Begins at Home with ME and only me, Land

Would anyone like to comment on the 100 years behind the times and very rude, "Bongo, Bongo Land" jibe from the racist, colonist and ignorant Godfrey Bloom, UKIP MEP?

Africa could call us,
"Military Aid not Overseas Aid Land" or,
"Colonial Power Land" or, 
"The white man knows what is best for you Land" or,
"Do what we say, not do as we do Land" (our unethical and hypocritical foreign policy);
"Attack first, ask questions later, Land";
Attack with shock and awe before the summer heat or the UN weapons inspectors spoil our fun and put the kibosh on our aggression, Land;
"Charity begins at home, military expenditure begins and ends at home and all over everywhere else, Land".

COMMENT received:
An African once said, "When the white man came to Africa he had the bible and we had the land, now we have the bible and he has the land"
Tony Verduyn

Monday, 5 August 2013

The oh, so righteous of the Lord

The righteous of the Lord have a blind spot or, they slide over the little matter of declining to participate in armed conflicts around the world.  In other words, our aggression on, and domination of, other weak countries that won't hit back never figures in their list of unrighteous deeds.  The righteous of the Lord shun the sex industry but not the arms industry and the armed forces - and all this warfare has been on the other nations' holy soil who simply wanted to be left well alone!  The righteous of the Lord taking part in such unrighteous activities is hypocritical and sinful.

Bible believing believers are reluctant to endorse peace talks between Israel and Palestine.  They say that peace can only come when Jesus returns - and we have all been waiting for that to happen for 2,000 years.  Or, if everyone were to believe on the Lord Jesus and be saved.  A reluctance to enter into peace talks to get a just resolution after 65 years of intermittent killing is boosted by their interpretation of Scripture and simply means continuing injustice and periodic violence.  It invites the charge of complacency and an attitude of care-lessness.

Exactly, as does the oft repeated refrain, from those made right by God and who are now on God's side, that He is in control and we have nothing to fear and nothing to do.  Some of the rest of poor humanity, on the devil's side, insist that Nature is in control and, if we don't get our numbers and our activities in harmony with the powers of the earth to support life, then collapsing life support systems will do the job for us - as we get our inevitable and, rightful, come uppance.  I know which side I charge with being complacent, dangerous and very foolish!