Sunday, September 15, 2013

Capernaum

I realized something just the other day. That it is 25 years ago today that I heard the most spirit-blasting message from the pulpit that I've ever heard. I remember the day because it was a Sunday when after the church service, my buddies and I had gone to Candlestick Park to see the Giants play the Astros. I count this Sunday as that very day's anniversary even though the actual date was interestingly September 11.

One of the striking things about that game, the particular thing that kept this day in my memory, was what happened a few minutes before the game began at its 1:05 scheduled start. A few thousand people were already filling the seats and a good number of them were listening on their radios to the 49ers game in New York just finishing up.

It was a close affair and with a minute left the football Giants had taken the lead. After the 49ers got the ball back deep in their own territory, Joe Montana threw a perfect strike to Jerry Rice streaking down the sideline for a long touchdown to retake the lead for good. The funny thing that as this was happening, the crowd there at Candlestick erupted in cheers.

The message in church just that morning was not something that would normally make one erupt in cheers, but the way it progressed you might think it should. Still, it was a message that when it was all done made me cheer in the deepest reaches of my soul, simply because it helped me viscerally realize how much God is a great, powerful God who loves with His very life, that He loves even the worst wretches of them all.

It was in the Calvary Chapel in San Francisco, and the pastor started his message by comprehensively detailing how splendidly wonderful the city of Capernaum was back in the day. Twenty minutes of effusively showcasing the city as the paragon of virtue in the known world, a place that indeed Jesus Himself had made his adult home.

For that generally standard twenty minutes of sermon time you'd think that'd be the entirety of it. I was so impressed with this Capernaum that I was convinced I was being told that I should just eagerly go right on out and make wherever it was I lived the best Capernaum I could. Good deal. Nice sermon. Way to go. Let's all go to lunch and get turkey croissant sandwiches.

Until he started to talk about what God thought of Capernaum.

Sure enough, all he had to do was tell us what Jesus said about it.

That it was going straight to hell.

In fact, this pastor pointed out that Jesus said it wasn't just going to hell, but the whole place was leading the way. Go ahead, check it out. See for yourself, Matthew 11, Luke 10, those chapters.

Just the contrast.

For twenty minutes it was all about the World being a wonderful shining light, then for another good fifteen minutes, at least, it was about its destiny for making many more sons and daughters of hell.

I just think of that contrast in what I do with my own web work.

The contrast between the World and the Kingdom.

I don't have it all down yet myself. I'm still learning from many things from the Lord. But I do see things that break my heart, things about the way the glorious modern-day Capernaum shreds the souls of so many.

Just yesterday on the cover of my Los Angeles Times was a huge article about the murder rate in Oakland. It was filled with all the tragic stories of people dying by bullets fired, one of whom was an eight year-old girl. Then the article was all about the local governments efforts to do more to deal with guns. Fewer guns fewer guns fewer guns. I imagine that's a fine thing to do.

I imagine that's a splendidly wonderful thing for Capernaum to do.

But people's hearts will still be wicked. They won't be healed. Their souls will still not be rescued from the horrors of their own rottenness. And still they think they're all that, so very special for giving the great big Capernaum-sized try -- wow.

Later in the Times was a key thing that clearly demonstrated that it is just not that hard to see why people don't get it. In another section, on the second page, was a story "from the science file" about newly discovered gears that insects have in their legs that help them jump from plant to plant. The scientist commenting on the subject said something along the lines of, "Really amazing what nature comes up with!"

Sure, I don't know whether to think about how idiotic that kind of statement is or commend the scientist for his appreciation of God's handiwork. But I do know one thing, that this sentiment drills into the minds of Capernaum dwellers that there really is no God, that we must just get out and slog through life doing the existential making up meaning for things and just jolly-well try real hard not to get too depressed about it all.

And children will still get shot dead.

I have to add that Harvard professor and pundit extraordinaire Niall Ferguson in the book I referenced in my latest home page piece went to great lengths to say that the fix to all this is better, smarter laws and more voluntary-oriented organizations where people really do nice things for others. Yeah, I do kind of ridicule this, but hey. Really.

It is a good thing Capernaum does these things. It is.

If you don't mind dying.

There is, however, The Way to not die anymore.

This pastor that day in that Calvary Chapel made it very plain. You can read about it yourself. Don't need to look up the sermon, try to find it somewhere. You'd get it if you just read about it there in the Bible, Matthew 11, you know, read it. Find out what happens next.

It does have to do with how much He loves you.

Monday, September 02, 2013

That Cabin in the System

The other night I watched the horror film The Cabin in the Woods on DVD with my son and his buddies. It turns on its head the whole spookiness and scariness of a creaky old haunted cabin deep in the woods. As the film progressed it actually got goofier and goofier, but I think the filmmakers knew that so they made it all good fun, in spite of the grotesque blood-spewing violence. But then I think that's just the "Happy Tree Friends" trend nowadays. Hyperbolic gore -- hilarious!

The reason I mention it here is because the main pretext was there are these people in a huge control facility arranging the actual physical human sacrifice of five young adults for the purpose of pleasing "the old powerful ancients down there." It was all processed with the greatest precision in order to make sure that all of humankind is preserved pretty much on the basis of this blood-letting successfully satiating the ancients.

Thing is...

This is happening to everyone right now.

While the human sacrificing isn't about selected victims being summarily hacked to death by crazed zombie people wielding large rusty cutting instruments, it is still about people's value being hacked off by the most powerful extractors on the planet.

I've spent tons of web space elucidating this truth, and if you're interested I invite you to tour my webzine to find out more about this principle. Here I'm just posting in the blog to introduce my latest home page piece, one about how hard it is to really know the truth of things, particularly these things, without the One Who Is Truth to guide you.

The only reason I go crazy sharing items of a more financial orientation is that what we do with money and prices and giving and taking and official value assessments and all those things are the ways modern human sacrifice can be exposed the most. What's funny is that most see this, know it, shrug about it, let it be because we all want our take from the most proficient value extraction.

I can't help but add this quote, one for which I've been seeking a good place for some time. I'm just going to slap it in here and hold on to it for further use when that quite appropriate place shows itself. But it fits with the idea of the reality of this "cabin in the world" where we all shake and shiver in dread of the extracting beast just outside the window.

"The bulk of incremental financial activity is trading, and trading, while it may provide a little useful public information about market opinion, is largely a way to transfer wealth from those with inferior information and calculation ability to those with more. There is no enhancement of economic efficiency to speak of. This is, you might say, the $64 trillion question."

These words are from Nobel Prize winning economist Robert Solow -- did you catch that? Nobel Prize winning. This isn't just some schlub saying what's what. (BTW it was in The New Republic April 8 2013) Thing is, even he can't answer the $64 trillion dollar question -- such a large number because there are indeed quite large chunks of people being shanked, sliced, and shelved to appease the greatest grandest highest powers-that-be.

I'm just saying it's what the World does, and always will do. I'm just saying you can't change it no matter how spiffy your approach is. I'm just saying the way to get off the altar is to go to all the way over to Christ who will embrace you and protect you from the most brutal extracting.

But you gotta go to Him waaay over there. Oh He's right there next to you waiting for you to say "I want to be yours." But He's an infinite distance away from the World.

And again, the only way you can know that truth is by

The Truth.
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