Monday, July 28, 2008

The Perfect Rationality of Irrationality, Erratum

Whoops, I blew it in my last blog post. This morning I blogged on how everything everyone does is rational, everything. There is nothing that is irrational, not a single thing. Then I made a mistake that belied my claim, and I wanted to clear it up here. First, read that post, just below this one, and see if you can spot the error in my logic. Oh, it is a perfectly rational error, and I'll explain that momentarily.

Halfway through that post I cited one of those questions asked through the ages. That question was: What is it that is reasonable, and how does one know that?

If my premise is true that everything is rational--which I firmly believe that it is true and any discussion about it would certainly bear that out--then guess what? Everything is reasonable, so the question "What is reasonable?" implies that something is unreasonable, a meaningless proposition given the premise.

The question should be "What is it that is righteous?"

In the context of the blog post, you'll see that's the one that most relevant. That is the question that should be asked, and my elaboration on that point is still applicable.

Why did I make that mistake? Again, it is perfectly rational. It is simply because sometimes I still think in those Greek terms. My past World indoctrination still bops around inside of me, seeps out of me too frequently, and sadly finds its way into many other parts of my life. Sometimes my mind is only oriented around those single terms belonging to the World. "Reasonable? Not reasonable?" Any considered differences between the two are just World pap, really--in the end of no consequence.

I confess I'm on the path to the Kingdom too, just like any other who desires Truth and Grace. Even that statement makes me wonder, is that too much of the World? The idea that we must only be in pursuit of the Kingdom? Never actually being there living gloriously in His embrace? Is it not possible we can actually be in the Kingdom loving others and blowing them away with His bounty in whatever measure that is?

Ergh.

On this path I thank Him always that He is righteous, and desires to share those things which are most important with those who do want to know them. Not all His wonderful matters at once, of course, which means there's that tension between the frustration with that still festering World gunk and the fantastic adventure that is discovering Him and that Kingdom.

Not all His wonderful matters at once, but enough.

The Perfect Rationality of Irrationality

A relatively new book by MIT professor Dan Ariely has caught my fancy. It is another of those "Freakanomics" type economics exposes where everything about why people decide to do what they do is thoroughly explained in an easy-to-read way. This particular treatment is called Predictably Irrational, and with it Ariely tries to share how so many things we do are irrational and by gosh why on earth would we do such irrational things?

The answer is that we don't.

Nothing we do is irrational. Not a single thing. In fact Ariely, when trying to say "Here's an irrational thing look how irrational!" actually shows how perfectly and, yes, predictably rational every single thing any given individual does.

The real question is this: Is any particular decision any given individual makes righteous?

The reason no one ever asks that question is because that would require some kind of moral judgment, and that, as we all know, is absolutely prohibited. That would mean one would be guilty of the crime of intolerance, bigotry, narrow-mindedness, and all the rest of it.

Funny thing, though. That prohibition. Isn't that itself a form of intolerance bigotry narrow-mindedness? It is said "Oh my, don't say something is morally wrong! That would mean you're saying your moral judgment is above ours, and that would mean you're arrogant and intolerant and mean-spirited! And certainly that is against the law!"

Ahem, what law? What moral judgment is in place to proscribe that behavior?

The fact is Ariely and all World pontificators only know the World way to assess things, and that is to gather some nebulous grasp of what most people think is pretty good and base their understanding on that. It is that classic Greek worship of the god of reason. Reason in and of itself is a terrific thing, but the key question here is one asked through the ages.

What precisely is reasonable? Furthermore, how do you know that?

To cut right to the chase, the answer is what God says. And how do you know what God says? It says it right there in His book. Sure millions read it and blab about it and many of those are World operatives who say "This is what it really means" with the sworn intent to keep you from actually seeing what God says. But all that doesn't take away from the fact that God pretty much laid out not only what is reasonable but more importantly

What is righteous.

Here's how what God actually says--irrespective of what World inhabitants and their masters says He says--explains the whole issue of rational-irrational, and it is in the way Ariely addresses the problem of procrastination.

Ariely did experiments with his students about due dates for assignments to see who did the best with their work in light of the fact that schoolwork is generally put off until the last minute. (Never mind that his "study" really had no proper controls so he could not effectively rule out other factors.)

He made a bunch of conclusions about procrastination after it was all said and done, speculations about the nature of self-control and the meaning of rewards and the concept of delayed gratification and the impact of socially or politically imposed deadlines and so on.

Nothing about why we actually procrastinate to begin with.

Of course he can't share that.

He only knows the World. He hasn't a clue about the Kingdom.

God knows. And He tells us. And we too can know what those things are. We just have to listen. World inhabitants (including quite a few higher education scholars) refuse to listen--for the reasons (perfectly rational I might add!) mentioned above.

The reason people procrastinate is because they see no relational value in a task given them. In other words, if they cannot see that what they immediately do will ultimately get them vibrant interaction with someone else or a group of someone elses who will express some notice of the given task considered for procrastination, then, voila,

You'll procrastinate.

It's all about relationship, discovery, accomplishment. Everyone has the need to belong, to experience, and to contribute, especially when that contribution is recognized by the people we long to have recognize it. The more we perceive those things won't happen--whether true or not-- the more we'll put it off. Or never do it to begin with.

God lays all this out in His word. More than anything else we want love and want to give love. When that is messed with in whatever way, we very rationally react, and sometimes those reactions are quite, shall we say, unrighteous. The payoff in all of this is that God loves purely, and empowers us fully to love ourselves. Without Him, yes,

Fughedaboudit.

You'll procrastinate everything to death, and live in misery.

But, hey, perfectly rational for one who doesn't know The One Who Loves.

Who is that One? Look here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

So Who Is It Then? Who Stores Your Value? It Is Someone...

Peeked at The Newshour tonight on PBS and saw Judy Woodruff interview Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd. She asked some pressing questions to a bubbly financial exec who seemed to be going out of his way to distance himself from his company's abysmal performance.

Of course none of Woodruff's questions were of any consequence since she herself is a masterful World mouthpiece for further devotion to Caesar. The mere practice of addressing Mudd with such deep concern-- squinting those eyes to sear his soul, turning her head for that penetrating inquiry, jabbing that pencil in the air in front of her-- announces to all World inhabitants that this is serious business, this management of their sin.

A telling part of this fact was in one question I want to share here. It was something like, "Has Fannie Mae for some time set itself up to evade regulation? How do you answer that?"

Mudd effervescently responded by saying that he was all for the new regulation that Congress was putting together, and elaborated about how welcome that was and all that.

All I could think about was the whole principle of

The Law.

Ever look at the first letter of Timothy, in the Bible? The very first chapter there? Let me share something with you from that chapter. It is in verses nine and ten. Here's what it says.

"We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers..."

In other words, when Mudd smiles gleefully about "the regulator" being put in place for him, he is saying nothing other than "I am a lawbreaker and a rebel, ungodly and sinful, unholy and irreligious..." I'm not saying anything one way or another about this, I'm just pointing it out. This is who he is.

What should be noted in light of this is that this individual is storing the value of millions of people by administering a critical item many of those people have their measure of value wrapped in: their home. You don't even need me to loosely apply Scripture to Mudd's confession, you can look at the facts themselves: Fannie Mae's stock value plummeting, its books opened however much for all to see the awful decisions it's made, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson having to insist how great everything is everywhere he goes. (Sorry, can't help but think "He doth protest too much, methinks.")

I must also add that Mudd's tasks are legitimate. People who need this service from an agent of Cain will contract with that agent, and he will comply dutifully (if indeed ineptly).

In the recent issue of Newsweek, economic uber-columnist Robert Samuelson, in addressing the turbulent global economy, said this, something I thought was quite stunning. He said, “Today’s global economy baffles experts—corporate executives, bankers, economists—as much as ordinary people. Anyone who says differently is either deluded or dishonest.”

Hmm. Really.

Thing is, I'm not surprised about this. The reason is because so many

Just haven't the faintest idea of the Kingdom.

They only know the World. I really don't believe Samuelson knows why everyone is so baffled, even as he shares some solid ideas about why the global economy is so scary. Samuelson is himself a product of the World, knowing nothing of the Kingdom, flailing around like everyone else trying to grasp that always elusive

Value.

Cain and his legacy will always have seven-fold strength over any one else. Woodruff, Mudd, Paulson, even Samuelson are all in on Caesar's task of sucking the life out of the populace to sustain that.

Christ, on the other hand,

Loves.

Did you happen look at Mark 10, from the Bible, to get an idea of how-much-fold that value degree is? No? That's cool. You can do it whenever. Jesus has it there for you. He's good with you making Him your Lord. Oh Caesar can be your lord too if you want, but Jesus is good if you decide to make Him your Lord instead.

Thing is, He won't allow any World potentates or their subordinates to join Him.

It's either Him or Daniel Mudd.

It's either the Glorious Truth and Bountiful Grace that is Christ, or it is the Guy Who Needs the Full Force of the Law to Keep Himself From Totally Destroying You.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

So Who Stores Your Value? Part II

An addendum to the folly that is the banking "crisis" addressed in the last post:

Today Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson testified before Congress to explain his announcement that the federal government has an unlimited line of credit available for banks, especially those teetering on the brink of insolvency. When asked why he won't declare some quantifiable figure for that amount, he said if he gave a figure it would be completely tapped, but if he just left it as "indefinite" then it won't be.

He actually used the analogy of a squirt gun versus a bazooka. If he announces he has a squirt gun, he may have to use it. But having a bazooka will mean he's less likely to have to pull it out.

Interesting metaphor, using weapons to make his point. As they said in Rome, Tam Marte quam Mercurio, or "As much by Mars (war) as Mercury (business)."

The key is how it is that Paulson can say the feds have an unlimited line of credit. Unlimited? Well not exactly. In fact, you can see precisely how much that is in the Bible. There in the fourth chapter of Genesis. Look.

It is a value degree of seven. That is, Paulson has at his disposal seven times what anyone else can claim to have to keep the city humming and all its inhabitants submissive. And from where does he get that capital? That is simple too.

He extracts it from those in his domain.

As a top financier of Caesar's empire, he can easily appropriate the value--the very productive capacity-- of those World inhabitants contracted to allow him to do so. He can't let on that this "indefinite" amount is indeed seven-fold, because he is certainly correct:

All those who covet and desire their cut of the extraction will make their claim to it as well.

Don't think those people are out there? Look at the front page of your morning newspaper. At least there on the Los Angeles Times today was a photograph of a long line of people waiting to withdraw their deposits from IndyMac Bank, recently taken over by federal regulators who said quite plainly, "Hey! How's it going? Terrific! Hey, just wanna let you know that we're good to go! Happy day! No bother! Don't sweat it! You know, FDIC, woo-hoo! It's all good!"

Yet still they lined up for blocks, a tacit statement that they all knew the feds, the bankers, the whole crew were still lying.

But that's what they do.

Paulson can't tell you he's got seven-fold liquidity. It's not just because he's lying, but because he'd be telling that to a bunch of liars themselves.

How nice the World is.

Oh, and real quick. Do you know the amount increase there would be if instead of Caesar, you actually asked Christ to be the measure of your value? Look in the tenth chapter of the gospel of Mark. You'll find it. It is, by the way, a teensy bit more than seven, and it involves a bit more than little slips of green papers.

Some thoughts about the quite fetid financial whirlwind of the World are here.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

So Who Stores Your Value?

Yesterday a pretty decent size bank was taken over by federal regulators. It was IndyMac, and right after I'd heard the news I thought about the branch on the corner of a quaint downtown area in a community near where we live, and the advertisement I'd seen on the side of the building just a couple weeks ago.

The ad said, "We want to be your one and only." Next to these words was a nicely drawn picture of a big heart covering someone holding that heart out. I actually thought at the time, "How nice, that they'd use such impassioned language to promise they'd do a good job."

Now that the truth about IndyMac's insolvency has come out, that approach sounds quite a bit like that homely person who vies desperately for your affections and must plead in such a way to try to get your commitment. "Please be mine." "Would you say 'Yes?'" "Tell me you love me."

What really makes me very sad is that you will hear nothing from anyone who says they trust in Christ about this whole thing because most simply don't have a clue what's going on, and they cannot offer any real take on it that has any potent meaning. The reason is simply because they are contracted with a World that thrives on fear and destitution.

One of those contractual obligations is that which the banks themselves make with the federal government, namely the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The FDIC took over IndyMac and is using this "bank holiday" to work things out. What are they working out, exactly? That is the crux of the whole issue. When they clean up the books at IndyMac,

They are working out how to set people's value straight.

And then they've got to sell IndyMac's customers on how well they've done, whether it is true or not. The key is that the customers believe their value is being well managed.

Such is the World.

When someone deposits their income in a bank, they are asking the bank, essentially, "Store my value." When someone borrows money from a bank, they are asking the bank, essentially, "Let me have the measure of someone else's value against the measure of my future value."

The problem comes when the people in the first interaction, both banker and depositor, desire to increase that value and not enough value from someone else's measure of value is there to acquire. This is compounded by the problem of those in the second interaction, when the borrower does not having enough measure of value to compensate for their promise, and the banker foolishly believes that he does.

This is just not rocket science. This is the essence of respect for one another's value. It has been this way for ages upon ages. And yet what you'll hear from the World's megaphone are things like, "Grummble mumble grrrmblle we need more regulation rules laws enforcement grrrmmble hrrmph..." Oh you'll get some nifty technical financialese about this thing banks do and that thing regulators do and this investment mortgage market thingamabob and that insider twistaroo that only the author knows about-- it all sounds splendidly erudite.

What you'll hear from the church is...

Nothing.

I have yet to see anyone anywhere who names the name of Christ say something along the lines of,

"Hey. Christians. Those of us who really want to do what Christ says, those who know how the World operates and would actually--and respectfully I might add--leave those Christians-in-name-only behind to have their pity parties and yet still ferociously defend-to-the-death their piddly contracts with the World, hey, how about if we actually truly really did what Christ asked us to do and

Have community.

Let's honor one another's value, value that Christ poured into each of us to love one another and sow His Kingdom, yes, right here, right now. It doesn't mean building anything in particular, but it does mean pooling our capital in phenomenal ways, with each of us eagerly mobilized and deftly utilizing all our gifts, a breeze with His strength coarsing through us."

No one can say that. They can't because they're so moored to the World with their 501c3 chains and their W-4 racket slips and their submissions to the FDIC to be sure the federal government watchdogs are hovering over them because dammit

We're just a bunch of sinners who are sure to dick with another's store of value if we don't have those guys there.

When I write that I weep, I literally sit here and weep, I weep for millions of Christians who'll watch a sermon or hear a radio message or read a devotional booklet that'll be about how we need to be more tolerant in a wicked age or how our marriages need to be more happy or how we need to be more authentic worshipping with candles and cafes and acoustic guitar music or how we need to dig in and fund more church goop or something we've already heard five thousand times.

But mention complete abandonment to Christ by chucking the World baggage and you get "Rrrrr-RAWWRRRR grrrowwlll grrrrrawwrrr" which is usually expressed as "That's crazy" or "We've been doing it this way for so long and we've all been fine" or "There's just nothing wrong with it" or the worst of all

Complete abject silence.

Funny, in the Los Angeles Times this morning, next to the banner headline about the IndyMac incident was a companion piece with the headline "When faith is frayed."

When faith is frayed.

Uh, excuse me,

Faith in what?

Better, faith in whom?

If you had faith in Christ, the real Christ, the One who holds the universe on the tip of his left pinky, not the pansy Catholic one hanging dead on a cross or the wussy "tolerant" one that hugs everyone (once they get to their place in the front of the line) or even the one that is Caesar who right now has a grip of power but has it only because people won't come to Christ to begin with (and is weaker than Christ's by a degree of at least seventy-seven bazillion anyway)...

If you had the teensiest of faith in that Christ,

You'd move mountains.

Oh, and you'd love people too. Which meeeans you'd know what their real value is... which meeeans you'd understand the real meaning of store of value... which meeeans you'd have real joy.

I can't wait to actually hear that from someone else.

Much more that people would actually be doing it.

I'd written some webzine home page pieces recently on the meaning of value. The first of those is here.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Empire of Tolerance

Been looking a bit at Yale professor Amy Chua's new book Day of Empire, a breezy textbook on the history of empires. Her premise: It is a sustained policy of toleration that augments an empire's power, and abandonment of that policy sinks it.

About half-way through the book she asks a provocative question, indeed it is one of the questions serious historians have asked through the ages, at least in some form. That question:

Is it possible for a world-dominant power to be genuinely tolerant in the modern, "enlightened" sense?

She asks this under the pretext of how much nations have or haven't tolerated the people of other cultures, races, or mores. Toleration in the "modern, 'enlightened'" sense certainly means affording civil protections or even privileges to those outside the provincially mainstream social norms and who are residing within the purview of the nation if not wholly within its borders.

The assumption behind asking the question to begin with is that history is filled to the brim with examples of powerful nation-states dominating others with imperialist fervor, and that this may be the only way it can be a world power. The idea here is that the capital held by "others" must be forcibly extracted. If it could not be forcibly extracted would a nation still be viable as a "hyperpower"?

The problem with answering this question is that there are indeed two ways to answer it.

There is the World way, the way most attempt to address it, and the Kingdom way, the way one with the mind of Christ would answer it. Those answering it the World way cannot comprehend any other way of answering it--to them the Bible is just a book of exploitive Western precepts however touching some of it may be.

To the one living by the Kingdom it is easy to see how and why the World bonks around trying to answer this question, but they also see the way God's economy works. It is not too complicated, really.

The World System is already a hyperpower, and has been manifest through the ages in some form in all the empires Chua describes. It is so much the hyperpower because God made it that way, with something around seven times as much strength as any wanna-be power. It has that strength because many men would refuse to call on God, so tremendous force has been required to keep them in check. This has quite often been ruthlessly-- and predictably-- horrific.

God put into each man the capacity, however, to do amazingly terrific things with his hands and feet. The human capital of all men put together is an incredible force, but then, ahh,

You've got that sin.

What a dilemma; hence, Chua's question. It is the problem of all authoritative governance. Expand the capital and at the same time restrain the destructive forces within each man to compromise that. Of course, governors are just such men and many times mistakenly associate destructive behavior with race or ethnicity.

Chua laboriously tries to answer the question with examples of how much nation-states considered hyperpowers in some measure have or have not allowed the capital of "undesirables" to be utilized for the benefit of all.

The question from there is this: Is the capital extracted or is it enhanced?

The Kingdom's answer is that the World can only extract it, indeed it can only know extraction. It is all still exploitation even in light of magnificent works produced from that capital. It is the great achievement of dutiful World operatives to convince everyone, including the exploitees, that they have been benevolently "tolerated."

Without Christ, however, all such persons are still dead. They've used capital for the sake of showing off magnificent works, which in and of themselves are very fine things, they really are. Sadly it is all still dust on top of dust when compared to the Kingdom and what Christ died for...

Love for one another.

So the real question Chua and all the World's scholars cannot ask is really the more revelant one. That is,

Is it possible for people to truly understand the meaning of what a world-dominated power is supposed to do however they make it look, and then to see the Kingdom of God's phenomenal explosion of capital if such people entered it and loved others with His love?

The answer makes the World's "toleration" and magnificent works look like piddle.

A bit more on the World's Hyperpower is here.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Prescribed Fourth of July Pap: It's Also Heard Every Sunday in Your Local Church

Just wanted to share a link to a terrific piece about the way the church is infected so virulently with the World, is sucked so fiercely into the culture war. Much of that is because they've allowed themselves to be deceived by World operatives, to remain in a state of law-abiding, and therefore to become incorporated subdivisions of the System by the contracts they themselves sign with that World. Russell Moore here gives a fine account of the fruit of that condition.

And the title of the piece, how about this:

"The Messiah Channel."

Just get me entertainment featuring my Straw-Man Jesus and I'm good.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Prescribed Fourth of July Pap: It's a Wholesome American Tradition

Yesterday (July 3) the Los Angeles Times opinion page had four pieces all having something to do with the holiday season, this time of year when we are all supposed to give a cheer for that one thing that wraps us all up in red white and blue. (Got warm star-spangled fuzzies yet? Visions of ferocious Samual Adams orations dancing in your head?)

That thing is, of course, freedom.

Freedom? Are you kidding? That thing is

Tyranny.

Huh? Don't we all wave the little toy versions of the star and strips in the parade for not-tyranny? Anti-tyranny? Vomit-from-our-very-being-the-very-spittle-of-tyranny?

First from the LA Times there was Timothy Garton Ash, Oxford professor and someone who seems to be getting quite a bit of newspaper space these days. He bemoans U.S. imperialism, but has nothing new to offer about it. Essentially, "Come on, we just don't have to do the Iraq thing with every country. Here's what let's do instead..."

His four things, condensed a bit: One, see what we all have in common. Two, use the literature, philosophy, and history of non-Western culture to find those things we have in common. Three, note there is precedent for good things taking root in some unexpected places. And four, people like those things so let's show them to them.

Guh? This is it? Dance in front of people with good things and they'll be cool? Those good things, by the way, he says are, quote, "freedom, toleration, reciprocity, and accountable government." These are good things, but people don't flourish with the law schmushing them into their faces.

They do that when introduced to Jesus Christ. I don't think Ash shared that as a fifth option. All he knows is Cain and his seven-fold power to cram good wholesome things down people's throats.

Then there is regular Times columnist Rosa Brooks, a constitutional professor by trade, who in her piece decries our disdain for the rights protections inherent in the U.S. Constitution. Using the recent Supreme Court decision to offer some measure of due process to Guantanamo detainees as her pretext, she gushes that all people have rights-- a concept as treasonous today to those who think they only belong to U.S. citizens as it was to those when the document was written in 1787.

What Brooks doesn't get is that people need government to crack heads of those who lie, cheat, steal, murder and jerk others around thousands of different ways. She is guilty of the key flaw of Cicero, that there is actually any good commoner, the idea that poor simple exploited people by virtue of being poor simple exploited people are somehow exempt from government messing with their rights by doing something so abusive as incarcerate them if need be.

Sure many many have died for that document, but only because they believe their freedom comes from Cain. Cain's agency-- the political and military hegemony that is the United States-- does offer some freedom from a hostile enemy who these days is embodied by some nebulous ugly terrorist somewhere, but Christ offers freedom from something worse.

Ourselves.

Thank goodness there is a tyranny like the United States government to rein us in with the oppressive enforcement of the law (wave the flag now), until perhaps someone will see the body of death that it is and ask Christ to be in the Kingdom.

Thirdly there is other regular Times columnist Patt Morrison, who prides herself on her eccentric takes (to match her eccentric hats). She comments on George Orwell's 1984 as compared to the new Pixar film Wall-E. They are the same, she says, in that both get us to know what real freedom is in their own peculiar way. We can all be fat pampered slobs by way of sinister social control as in 1984, or we can all be fat pampered slobs by way of spiffy advanced technology as in Wall-E. Or we can be free from that by,

Free by what?

No, sorry, she doesn't mention that One Freedom-Maker. Quite predictable, really. She considers 1984's Winston Smith exuding everything that is in Wall-E's fat-slob captain's cry, "I don't want to survive--I want to live!" and then,

Leaves us hanging.

Finally there was a gem from Penn Jillette, part of the two-man comic-magic Vegas act, whose LA Times piece was a surprisingly humble polemic as to why he's just not quite yet buying into the global warming hysteria. His point: I just don't know yet, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Jillette generally is quite strident about those who claim to know, particularly about religious things. Forgive me if I don't have this exact, I'm drawing from what I've seen of him and his perspective in this piece, but it seems his take is, "I can't know there is a God." This is the typical agnostic position, which is funny because for someone who prides himself on being a skeptic he sures know a lot about God, namely that he cannot be known.

The agnostic may then retort, "I'm just saying that it is impossible for anyone to really know about God." Problem is, he then is making a dogmatic claim about someone else. Does he know about every single person and what they've experienced? Does he know that God has not spoken to any of them?

To his credit Jillette states in his piece that there are some things we can know for sure, and other things we can't. Great. The issue then is really what are we genuinely willing to learn and what are we going to reject out of hand because it doesn't fit with our World-ingrained world view.

Each of these writers is propounding a version of tyranny that keeps everyone feeling good about his or her World inhabitant status. Each has a Straw-Man Jesus they've concocted, and those Jesuses are really nothing new in pantheon of World Jesuses.

Ash's is the Jesus of Being Nice To Different People Of Other Cultures As The Way To Bring Peace No Matter How Much Force We Must Use To Do It. Brooks' is the Jesus of Making Sure We All Know What Our Constitutional Rights Are Damn It. Morrison's is the Jesus of Seeing What Fat Slobs We Can All Be If We Don't Go To The Movies To See What Fat Slobs We Would Be. And Jillette's is the Jesus of Being Proud Of Knowing What Things We Do Know And What Things We Don't Especially Those Things The World System Tells Us About.

Each one sputters that just by thinking about things in a fun witty (but by no means original) way we can kinda feel good about this sorta freedom thing we timidly wave our flags at during the town's Independence Day parade.

No wonder.

It's all just cultural tyranny anyway.

Long may she reign! (Insert vigorous flag-waving here)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Knowledge is Power... Kind of

One of the most pronounced of the Gnostic creeds is "Knowledge is power." Those in the World trudge along by this, trying harder and harder to know in order to find their salvation.

Salvation for those in the Kingdom--and along with it, genuine power--comes from one source, the Creator of the entire universe, Jesus Christ.

I thought about that for a moment, and thought, couldn't one feasibly ask, "What about knowledge of Christ? Couldn't it be the case that one must have knowledge of this One Who Saves? Wouldn't he then derive his 'power' from the knowing of that One? And isn't that then the result of some effort put forth by the know-er, making it just as much a Gnostic endeavor as anything?"

Wow. That's a fine challenge, and I'm sure one that has been considered before many times by many others in many ways.

My answer may also be one that's been previously considered, but I really don't hear it much because the World is so predictably Catholicized that it should certainly not get too much airplay. My goodness, that the One Person Who'd Wholly Fulfill would be so easily embraced epistomologically is just something World operatives are not too crazy about having out there. So of course the Gnostic lies get out there instead and people are stuck with hitting the textbooks.

The fact is Jesus is right there in front of everyone as much as the shirt on their bodies are. Jesus died for every individual in the world, so Jesus is more like that shirt hanging on your shoulders than he is some esotric concept to grasp if one is lucky enough to have an intrepid evangelical guru introduce him to you.

The question is, are you going to want to wear the shirt that's already there? If you don't, Jesus gives you the option of taking it off. He doesn't want to give you the Kingdom if you really don't want it. He's cool with that.

Qualifying note: I'm not saying Jesus is already accepted by people. They are already condemned of their sin by the law. My shirt metaphor is simply to challenge the whole presumption in the above question. It is interesting as I think about the shirt that a biblical metaphor is indeed that one may be "clothed with Christ," to be covered with His righteousness.

When it comes to knowing Jesus, I believe every individual can't help but know of Him in some very simple non-laborious way. The question is not knowing but submitting to His Lordship. Anyone can know of Him, and I imagine Gnostic practioners may know a lot of cool things about Him. He, however, would like one to know Him.

Many will and many won't. I believe many of those who won't will find themselves squirming around in the World looking for the quite elusive knowledge that will save them. Oh they might have some temporal power with it--the Agents of Cain have seven times as much power with it.

But it won't mean much in eternity.

Or right now for that matter.

For a bit more about this "squirming around in the World" stuff, my most recent home page webzine piece is on it.