Tuesday, November 27, 2012

We've Always Been in the Hunger Games

Just have to plop up here a quick post on an article right there in the big mainstream McPaper, USA Today. A university professor has a column in which he asks, "Are we living in the Hunger Games?"

I wrote at length about the film The Hunger Games as a profound metaphor for very real contemporary human sacrifice. Yes, human sacrifice happens all the time by everyone not living by the self-sacrificial principles of Jesus Christ. It isn't always in the physical violence people do to one another but in the spiritual and emotional violence they do. The reason so many refuse to accept this truth is that it is so hard to discern in the lives of everyone who does it, which it seems is just about everyone.

Here the author elucidates how evident this is. He will certainly get points from those shouting about how inequitable all things economic are in this country. He will get more points from those who want to screech about how much power too few people have to exploit others like madmen. Blah blah blah. All this has been happening through the millennia in every place on the planet. Cain's agents love it because it stirs rebellion which they feast upon like zombies in a brain storage facility, and the people love it because --

They must do human sacrifice.

He concludes with the thoroughly typical and always misguided, "We just need to get back to the Constitution!" Ahem, the Constitution just lays out the ways U.S. political culture keeps the human sacrifice alive and well. Nothing wrong with that, it is the World System at work.

The real answer is to abandon all of that and enter

The Kingdom.

Be mercy and grace to people. Be truth to them as well, not judging but judging righteous judgment. Let Caesar be Caesar and don't get mixed up in his domain. Rather love others with Christ's penetrating compelling overwhelming love. Sow and sow and sow abundance all around you with what it is you do really well. And sacrifice yourself in doing so.

Another ticks you off? Hand him your coat. Another slights you and your ever-sensitive sentiments? Invite him to dinner. Another steams you because of his ideological idiocy? Extend your hand, smile, and share with him Life.

The Hunger Games. I can think of very few things that are more gruesomely ugly. Except that even uglier is how much people say they don't like it either, but they do like it and they do anything and everything to embrace it.

Murderous deceit.

Over and over and over again in a splendid array of colors. All fully and wholly constitutional.

It is the way of the World.

Doesn't anyone really want out of the Hunger Games?

Here's that home page piece again. Would love for you to read it. Share your thoughts with me. I also have a page on human sacrifice itself. I invite you to look at that too. Let me know what you think.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Dysfunctional Nation

This past week events occurred in my life that paralleled one another quite profoundly.

The first was that a president was reelected who is so wickedly reprobate that I grieved over the continued course of this nation. Many said, "Oh quit yer whinin' -- that's been said so many times before and look, we're still okay." No we're not. We're still living in a moral sewer.

The second was I spent my week exhaustively working to permanently dismiss from my classroom a student who is pathologically manipulative, narcissistic, and sociopathic. The emotional and spiritual violence spewed from this young man utterly destroyed the instructional integrity of my classroom.

Both were awfully draining events to endure, but what made them so striking was not just the similarities in the breadth of evil reflected in them, but that so many people either refused to see and act appropriately on them, or much worse: allowed them or even enabled them to continue.

Regarding the first, Americans went to the polls and elected a man who expressly desires to continue enabling people to commit murder against their own unborn children, encouraging sexual abuse by institutionalizing sodomy, endorsing the rule of drug cartels over Mexico and the commensurate murder of thousands of its people, and expanding the idea that so many people wantonly decide to do nothing productive yet leech off the productive capacity of others. I could name a dozen more moral crimes that this man will continue to commit.

The stunning truth that so many refuse to grasp is that his opponent would do nothing to effectively stem these things. In fact one of the reasons he lost was because he was too ambivalent about truly changing the above conditions, mostly because the mass of the nation's mass media favored the incumbent's agenda as well. The opponent couldn't risk alienating them. They still torpedoed his candidacy.

Don't get me wrong. Both will or would do whatever Cain's legacy expects them to do. They're fully authorized to do what it is they do so well -- I contest it not at all. I just feel deeply about it.

The thing that is most frightening came from looking at my Facebook wall this week. About half my friends are old friends from high school and college, people who grew up with the kinds of views the incumbent holds. A handful are former students who've been proficiently indoctrinated in the virtues of infanticide and such. Most wrote on their Facebook walls how proud they were that the incumbent president was elected again, and their posts had lots of exclamation marks and smiley emoticons. I truly felt ill inside.

About half of my other friends are Christian friends I've had from church or ministry connections, more recently in my life. They too made me queasy when looking at how little they know about what is really going on. How misled are they to firmly believe that the way to go was to vote for the challenger -- a Mormon who is kind of Christian I guess. Some of their posts were accompanied by Scripture, most of which related to how God is in charge of things and don't get discouraged and all that. Errckh.

The thing that should be understood about all of this is that all of this is the activity of Cain. He was the first city-builder, ordained by God to rule as governor over a reprobate population. As the clearly identified murderer, he uses seven times the murderous power over others, and part of that design involves the most viciously seductive deceit. This program continues to this very day, and should you choose to get into it with your civil election voting power you become a vital part of it.

No wonder this country is the wretched pit that it is.

And no wonder the church is completely impotent to do anything about it.

Oh the churchly people will say that they know about it all and they'll issue warnings and they'll spout some moralistic plap, but it all vanishes before it even gets close to deaf ears, because the church is really just the Catholic church, and that is Cain's church anyway. Think you've got a not-a-Catholic-church? If you fiercely clutch a 501c3 tax exemption then you're Cain's church, so shut up. Wait, I don't have to tell you to shut up. No one listens to you anyway!

This week as I watched even my very best friends reveal the pathetic wickedness of their own hearts up and down the social networking site, I was having to painfully wrestle with this student and his stubborn mother, both gushing right out of the most dysfunctional background imaginable. And while this student was busy wrecking my classroom -- administrators, counselors, and whatever other stakeholders were busy fiddling. The reason is quite reasonable actually.

Mom was using the weight of the law in every facet possible to keep her boy mainstreamed. And it had all these people cowering in fear.

It required me to use that law to my advantage, document everything that he was doing, and keep insisting to everyone that they take action, by the clear provisions of this law. To their credit -- including his mom! -- they did get it and they did find another situation to provide for him.

But the main thing it required was prayer. And not just any prayer but intercessary prayer with others praying with me.

All it requires is truth and grace.

But what do we do. We do the law.

The law. Everything managed by THE LAW.

And why do so many keep enlisting THE LAW to govern everything they do?

There is only one thing the law does, really.

It points out how much we are sinners.

No matter how cool we look - how nice we are - how skilled we are at our jobs - how many jokes we can tell - how many smiles we can paste on our face - how many swell things we can do for others - how considerate and giving we try to be - how much we're into what's really going on with politics for the apparent benefit of everyone

We're dead in our sin.

Funny (or not so funny as may be more the case) when we say in bright splendid colors, "LAW, do x, y, z for me!" in whatever way we do that, then we plainly declare that we're sinners. The only way out of that is to not only turn from that stuff and boldly say you're Christ's, but also abjure the World System that exploits the law.

I grieve -- I am overwhelmed with that grief (call this melodramatic, but it is true) -- when I see the millions and millions of people in this country jumping up from whatever ideological part of the arena they sit and cheering on some agent of Cain to use the bruising strength of THE LAW against them. Them, themselves, those around them, everyone.

When will Christ actually be made Lord over their lives?

I see so little of that happening. So little.

And I grieve.

I wrote my latest home page piece about this. Would love for you to read it. Even better, would love for you to be introduced to Christ. Think about it, would you?

Saturday, November 03, 2012

...As Long As You Know You're Loved

My niece has been over this weekend, and she's exactly the same age as my daughter. It was a great opportunity to see Wreck-It Ralph, and it was a terrific movie. It was actually kind of slow to start, and I started to see some of the same formulaic plot devices that you see in all the Pixar movies.

But the key message is one I want to share with you here because it relates exactly with the subject of my latest home page piece.

I want to start by sharing with you something you may already know. I am a rabid San Francisco Giants fan. So it may go without saying that when they won their second World Series title in three years last Sunday night, I was ecstatic.

But I realized something a while ago that is quite profound about this ecstasy, and it is one of the most perverse facts of life that there is. For you see, the splendidly wonderful wonderfulness of that whole thing wouldn't mean a thing if there weren't

The Los Angeles Dodgers.

And not just the Dodgers, but the constantly winning Dodgers. The always beating-the-tar-out-of-the Giants Dodgers. The incessant just-always-being-better-than-the-Giants-for-years-on-end Dodgers. The ever-agonizing dumping-us-from-any-playoff-hopes-on-the-last-day-of-the-season Dodgers.

If there weren't a Dodgers, why celebrate about anything great that is the Giants?

So I actually have to accept that, yes, in that very weird, very ugly, very odd way -- ::gulp:: -- I like the Dodgers.

The reason I bring this up is because this was splashed all over the screen in Wreck-It-Ralph. Ralph is the video game character who always has to be the bad guy who wrecks the building so Fix-It-Felix-Jr. can fix things up and all that. Thing is, everyone in the video game hates him, except that they don't realize that without him, their life has no meaning. Technically, without Ralph their video game gets unplugged.

This is something I've called the activity antinomy. I've thought a lot about this, but in short: Even when everything is done we still need to do something. What do we do when we have everything we want? Mansion on an island with pools and billiard rooms and bike trails and butlers and maids and chefs? We get bored. We can never not do something. Once we do something great, we've got to do something else. But let's say everything is already done wonderfully and splendidly. We atrophy because we're bored. This theme (there's that formulaic concept again) was splashed on the screen in great big colors with another Pixar film, Wall-E.

Anyway, Ralph goes through the film trying to show everyone that he is good. Lots of fun things happen, but in the end Ralph realizes that he's just who he is, and if it seems that he's bad because he's got to do his job in the video game, that's okay because he at least knows that he's loved.

That was the end of the movie, and as simple as this is, it is phenomenally profound.

One key reason is not that he just has this bland "I'm loved whatever whatever" feeling, but that

He is actually loved by another individual who really does love him in real actuality.

That individual was this sassy little gal in another video game, Vanellope Von Schweetz, and the interesting thing was that she was both the princess of the video game but also that earthy, incisive, joyful, ambitious, wise-cracking person.

I seem to remember another individual who is just like that. Someone who is both the Son of the King and that friend who gets down and dirty and dives right into the messiness of life with you.

It isn't nearly as much whether or not you're good, it is whether or not you know what love is.

What is really interesting is that the film touches on the idea that for love to mean anything, this must be a person and not just some ethereal nothingness. This girl is first seen as a glitch, occassionally pixilating in and out of existence for very brief fragments of time. But later it is proven within the contextual reality that is the video game world, that she is indeed very real. A very real someone to love and be loved.

Jesus is exactly like the messed-with Vanellope for many people. To the particularly not-very-Christianly people He's an annoying glitch shoved in their face by overbearing religious folk, holding off the pixilating of Himself enough to require the formation of elaborate rationalizations why he's nothing to bother with. To the particularly Christian-churchy people He's a glitchy cool dude/domineering taskmaster who requires turgid explanations by robed officials, refusing to pixilate Himself mostly on Sundays when we must put on a smiley face for others.

Sorry, but I just don't see much true, lasting, authentic love in those scenarios.

I'd been reading Genesis in my devotional time and you'll see I'd even put in a reference from it on my recent home page. Genesis 18. But there's also Genesis 19, and I could never figure out why those immoral people in Sodom wanted Lot's visitors when he even offered them his virgin daughters! But it came to me.

They knew those visitors were sent directly from God, and all they wanted to do was have sex with anyone who they felt had some measure of value they could strip. Sure virgins might do the trick, but hey, here we have gods! It was all about human sacrifice -- what they so obsessively wanted to do was take and take and take some more, and it was all about love -- the fact that they thought love was merely doing as explosively immoral things with your body as you could.

So it seems people may walk away from Wreck-It Ralph thinking there really is no such thing as good and bad after all. This is sad because there is still wretchedly awful evil out there done habitually by common men and women, ones who live down your street and drive in the car next to you on the road. But the fact is that they do it and get away with it and are enabled to do it by powerfully selfish people in powerful positions under Caesar who haven't a clue about this magnificent truth.

That there is One Who Does Love.

This was just the heart-rendering message of this beautiful children's movie. Again, not just that love is. How pukifying is that.

It is that this awesome gal in the other video game showed that she deeply, deeply loved this hulking lunk of doubt and despair.

Who can't relate to that?

Yet that love is so scary we pixilate ourselves so much that we glitch our way out of existence.