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Posts Tagged ‘God’

I don’t think I know you

You have this droopy face
They say full of pain and love
How can pain and love co-mingle?
How can pain and love be equally yoked?
The mystery and the scandal
That pain was the result of love
But I think they are wrong
For you see that pain and love don’t
Combine into this one droopy face
With a crown that represent all
Humanity’s accomplishments
We built pyramids from sand
We raised dirt into mountains
We took trees and created gods
We scarred the earth in search 
Of that precious mineral which one day
Would bring majestic heights to us
Yet all of our abilities as the human race
Come together in one rip
One  twist
One tryst between thorn and pate
I don’t know you 
I think they don’t either 
You, who held the quarks and their kin
From imploding and scattering
Quasars and galaxies spin endlessly
On your words
The stars sing your praise
The trees bend and weave your song
The birds and beasts know no other King
Your throne is the mountains
Your footstool the plains 
The ocean is your cup
They do not know you
Open their eyes so that they may know
The man who bore man’s crown
-ing achievement upon his brow
So that when you next come
They may recognize the crown
Made not by man
But by love

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Noah was directed by the enigmatic Darren Aronofsky who had directed other films such as Pi, The Tree of Life, and Requiem for a Dream.  Oh and that controversial one, The Black Swan.  He is no stranger to edgy.  After seeing the first two movies, I was dwelling on the ideas and themes for days afterwards.  Even now, at the mention of them, I still have questions and insights.

So when I heard he was doing Noah, I was excited.  What was he going to do?  How would he portray a character that had been so misconstrued by culture already?

Misconstrued?

Yes.  Misconstrued.  Who here has never had Noah and the animals on the ark as a wallpaper or a nursery picture?  It’s cute right?  Noah on a boat with some giraffes sticking their heads up and a bird or two circling around.  If you were lucky, there would also be some really happy looking waves with fish and such.

That same weekend, another “Christian” movie was playing.  God’s not Dead played next door to the Noah movie.  The choice was there but the decision was easy to make.  Watch a movie where stereotypes and caricatures had it out with a Duck Dynasty member thrown into the mix or see a movie with a Hollywood budget and rock monsters (more on that in a moment)?

Leading up to this post, I have read countless reviews from both multiple viewpoints.

The movie was offensive.

The movie really destroyed the actual story.

Rock Monsters?

It was a good witnessing tool.

The movie pushed people to read the Bible.

Rock Monsters?

I will not critique the different movie points.  Many good reviews do that already.  I even loved the article arguing the movie was a gnostic retelling of the story.

Why was Noah a good movie?

Did you hear the cries of the people as God punished creation?  Did you see the desperation in Noah’s eyes as he heard their screams?  Did you get how Noah saw himself as wicked as well?  Did you see how Noah tried to grapple with what he felt God was telling him?

In Noah I saw more reality than I had in other “Christian” movies.  I felt the art pull me into the story, into Noah’s desperation. I cringed as the whole world was reduced to seven, then nine, then eight people.  I felt the anguish of the mother as Noah held the knife over the heads of the babies.  And then I felt the relief as Noah relinquished and let them live.

There were real problems and they weren’t all nice and solved at the end of the movie.  We were left to deal with the consequences of Noah’s actions.  Do you know why he was drunk at the end?  Because he had failed his version of God.

“His version of God?  God told him to kill the babies.”

Did God really tell Noah to kill the babies?  Think back to Noah’s logic.  Remember when he went into Tubal Cain’s camp to find his sons women?  Remember that bedraggled man he saw that ate the flesh of animals or humans or whatever?  He was seeing himself as God saw man.  Evil.  Wicked.  Rebellious.

This was either Aronofsky’s big flaw or his brilliance at play.  As he is reportedly an atheist, I would say flaw but I could be wrong.

What does scripture say about how God saw Noah?  God saw Noah as righteous (Genesis 6:9).  Here is an excellent article on why this is.  If Aronofsky knew this to be true, then this is brilliance.  Noah is really a commentary on some Christian’s today.  We forget that God sees Jesus instead of our sin when He looks at us.  In the movie, Noah had some bad theology.  When he arrives back to the ark and locks everyone in, he reveals his plan.  As sin wasn’t the result of people’s actions but something inherent in them from the beginning, Noah figures God wanted them to die out and extinguish the human race.

Did God say this?  I found myself asking “If God wanted to kill off all of humanity, why save Noah and his family then?  Wouldn’t the fate of being the last man on earth be worse than a death by the catastrophic flood?

Noah is misreading God.  This is Aronofsky’s second brilliant point, one which I think he probably meant to flesh out.  Christians, me included, have the tendency to take the Word of God and twist it to fit their message, their ideologies, and their “convictions”.  Now, this doesn’t excuse Aronofsky for making God a mute deity who speaks through visions and signs but isn’t that how many in the American Church see God today?  But I digress.

I see the proof of Noah misreading God fleshed out in the end when Noah gets back with his family and passes on the birthright to his oldest son, essentially telling him to carry on filling the earth.  It is then that we see rainbows filling the sky.  Noah goes from ending all of life and doing as God had intended- encouraging life to flourish.  This is when we see full closure, a real ending to the narrative.

 

Yes, there is a lot in the movie that really trounces the Biblical text.  But it did get me to think about the nature and character of God way more than any other “Christian” movie ever has.

 

Appendix A

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(ROCK MONSTERS!!!!)

Ok.  Let’s talk Rock Monsters.

Due to the alliterate state of the American Church, I doubt most Christians have heard or dealt with the Books of Enoch.

“No, I totally have.  He’s that guy that walked with God and then he was not because God took him.”

The books of Enoch introduced us to some of the more interesting Angel lore.  This is the book Jude might have been talking about when he wrote about Michael and Satan arguing over Moses’ body.  The Watchers also show up in the book of Daniel.

So, in angel lore, the Watchers, or Grigori, are “Servants of the most high” who form the inner council of God and relay His messages to Earth.  Some also think that they are involved with human governments, helping man pass decrees and laws and such.  Also, as the root for their name indicates, it is thought that these beings never sleep and thus are always “watchful.”

There is also within angle lore the idea that these angelic hosts were the ones who fell from the heavens and, after lusting after women, produced nephilim.  Interestingly enough, the books of Enoch implied it was this transgression that brought about the flood.

If nothing else, scholars believe this gave the exiled Israelites hope.  They had been taken from their promised land and the temple was in ruins.  The presence of God was no longer with them.  Despite this, there was a hope for exiled Israel as “it is possible these angels may be mere reflectors of Yahweh Himself.  He is the keeper of Israel who never slumbers nor sleeps (Ps. 121:4), and the One whose eyes range throughout the whole earth (Zec 1:10; 3:9; 4:10).”

I would figure, therefore, that Aronofsky combined the two major characterizations, the fall of the Watchers and their tendency to help mankind, and formed a whole new “monster.”  So calm down, these are not really inconceivable and are more biblical than you probably knew (with some poetic licensing added).


For the details regarding the Watchers, I referred to the Wikipedia page and my International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol 4 Q-Z.  The pictures are not mine.

 

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Love

Love
By William L Peace Jr

Love
Her flowered breath in my chapped ear
Love
His protective hands leading her forward
Love
The Eucharist of a morality tale for man
Love
A living sacred symbol of a Savior’s ransomed people
Love
A feeling
Love
A selfless action
Love
Denying his fleshly appeal for him
Love
Her valiant “no” to feelings for her
Love
Laying down one’s life for a friend
Love
That God is mindful of us
Love

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

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How Big is God?

Today (Sunday), in church, my pastor talked about turning away from God and turning to God.  This won’t be a long post but I want to tell you what my take away was.

If you would ask me, I would say I was in the valley section of the ups and downs of life.  Have been for a while and probably will be for a bit more.  Not sure why.  All I can think about at times is the old comic strip “Calvin and Hobbs” where Calvin asks his Dad why he must shovel the drive way of snow.  His dad’s response is “Because kid, it builds character.”

I sat through the sermon today, listening to Pastor talking about Israel and following God and not following God.  And one thing he said that really stuck was a quote from A.W. Tozer.  I forget the exact wording but it was something to the effect of when our god is small, the temporal things of this world will overwhelm us.  But when we have the right perspective of God, His Power, Wisdom, etc, then the things of this world will suddenly lose their weight.  It was so needed for me to hear this as I had found myself in the middle of seemingly immense problems and situations.  I had forgotten who my God really was and made Him to be this small postage stamp sized being in my mind.

Then, in reviewing the sermon, two friends pointed out two verses.  One was Romans 5:3-5  “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. [NASB]” and the other was James 1:2-4 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. [NASB]”

So, not only was my anxiety with my problems taken care of, so was my anxiety with going through the valley I’m in right now.  The downside is, I’m finding more and more how much of a sinner I really am so I might be here for a while.  Good times.

 

Peace,

Bill

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I once heard the words of this title from a friend who writes far more than I do. He was explaining to another friend why he writes. Why he endlessly places words he hears onto paper (or the screen). Why he pulls words from the air and makes sense of them. He said, “If I don’t, I will die!” Not that his heart is laced with a sensor that, should he stop writing, will induce a heart attack. No. It’s in his blood. It’s how he processes the world.

Another friend of mine recently wrote a blog entry. Her second one. And in telling me about it, exclaimed, “I didn’t know I had it in me!” Well, she did. But what drew it out of her? Perhaps a tinge of what my first friend said. “If I didn’t, I would die.”

I have been wanting to write. I need to write. It hasn’t felt right though. Not quite. I suppose it never will. Thus, I sit here and wrestle with my mind. I take control of that which has been deadened by a day at work and a good .5 MG of Lorazepam. I push back the fog and look at what has been taken. These words I will write will be ripped from their rest. It will be a bloody mess, and I will hurt from it. These words wanted to be buried with me in death. Ironically they wanted to die instead of fulfill their purpose-keep me from death.

Because if I don’t, I will die!

I have always been fascinated by a good story. I have always had a book that I was never quite finished, thanks to my penchant for reading three or more books at a time. Ever since I read about a boy named Dick and his friend Jane watching their dog Spot (who could apparently run), I always craved conflict, near-defeat, action, excitement, and resolution. I wanted dearly to see how a character would react to a certain situation. How would Robin Hood deal with the sheriff? Would Arthur turn a blind eye to Lancelot and his love? I would read into the dead of night to find out how Tom and Huck saved their friend, Jim.

As I read these stories, I saw something laced between the words. I saw love. Robin and Marian. Tom and Becky. James T. Kirk and…well, yeah. And then I met her. The girl I knew I was supposed to be with. The girl I would eventually save from near and utter destruction. We were in 8th grade and she wouldn’t say a single word to me. I realized there was something more than me just wanting to hang out with her. I had these weird feelings for her. Why did I want to save her? Then I realized what it was. I liked her! I was Robin and she was Marian!

For various reasons, it did not work out. And by various, I mean she did not like me. (In hind site, I’m thankful she didn’t.) But I had opened a door. I wondered what it would be like to be in a relationship. What did Robin Hood feel with Marian? Well, I knew what he felt. Love. It said so on those white pages. And Robin was happy being in love. It would mean heartache but it would propel him to heights unknown. I wanted that. For if I claimed it, I would be happy. And so started my quest to attain happiness through love.

The years passed. I learned about God, life, and a plethora of other things. People passed in and out of my life, some to stay, some for a season. And always, the quest for love was in my mind. It started to become an obsession. It started to fuel my life. I figured ways to finish my quest. And like clock work, they all failed. During this time, I heard God calling me. Asking for my heart. I gave Him a lot. But not my quest. Not my desire for love. That was mine. I would hold onto that thank you very much.

So God did the only thing left for Him to do to get my attention. He let me have what I wanted. And I thought I met my Marian. Unfortunately, I had met my Guinevere. As my world ceased to function around me, as my mind started to break down, I had two alternatives. I could continue and be pulled into the black hole I was at the edge of. Or I could turn to my God and dig in.

I chose the latter.

God did the rest.

The pain was unbearable. He bore it for me.

The loneliness was deep. He was infinite.

I was broken. He was able to do what He needed then.

I finally learned what I needed to learn all along. My quest for happiness in love from a woman was doomed for failure from the beginning. I was looking for a finite handful of mud to fill the infinite hole within my soul. I would never find it here. I could only find it in Christ, who is my portion, and His love. True love, not the love of the moment.

I want to be satisfied in Christ. Then all else can fall into place. I want to fill my needs and desires with the love of Christ.

I have found myself looking to media to satisfy me. To relieve the darkness within me, to chase away the depression. But as I turn to that, to the need for a story, I find I need more and more to fill me. I need deeper, bigger, newer. I’m looking for something. And I feel as if this quest will determine my life as it has before with the search for Plato’s “the one”.

I was tempted to use a recent event in my life to doubt that God had the best planned for me. I found myself going back to the quest for happiness in a relationship.

But I will not let that happen this time. I will follow John Piper’s advice and make war against my “old man”. That is not how I will act from here on out. I am not going to find what I need in a relationship or a person. I will not find it in that single moment at the climax of a chick flick when the two loves run to each others arms.

That wont’, can’t, satisfy me.

I cannot let my life be determined by a single event or a set of circumstances. I cannot let my faith in God be determined by the outcome of following Him, as if I deserved recompense for laying down self and chasing after God. Though I lose my friends, time, money, or love itself, I will not stray from God. He spent so much for me to do so.

My life must be determined by my faith in Christ. I can’t let Satan lie to me any more. I am not basing my countenance on the circumstances of this world. I must be dead to this world. It must be nothing to me. I will not be tossed to and fro like mist on an ocean wave. I must live like my Lord is my portion.

Because if I don’t, I will die.

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Today is the remembrance of the day Christ was crucified on the cross on a hill in the middle east 2000 some years ago.

Apparently, it is also the day that people would like to remember earth…

Romans 1 talks about how humanity turns to worship creation rather than creator. Now, I understand this is not the day thousands of hippies get together to worship Gaia. I understand that Earth is under our God-given stewardship. But still, when it overshadows Good Friday, then its something to gripe about.

Anyway, now that that is out of the way, consider the price Christ paid on the cross as He stood under God’s wrath that was meant for all of mankind.

Peace

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Hell’s Bell

Yes, I am joining the million Born Again Christians who is speaking out against Rob Bell’s new book.  Love Wins.  I watched his NOOMA videos in youth group back in ’03, ’04 and remember thinking that it was interesting, a little off sounding but they were ok.  Then I remember reading his book, “Velvet Elvis” and, though I cannot remember why, I know I did not like it.  His writing is very easy to understand but his views are very watery, vapory, and ethereal.  There was no real ground for them and they did not stand up to simple Bible truth.  This being said, I was slightly surprised when I read a sample (not worth the $10 yet due to the fact that I will only give it another paragraph or so of thought.)

Rob Bell is not a Calvinist in any of the points whatsoever.  I will not touch that as some brilliant men are not as well.  What I am concerned about is the fact that he seems to lump humanity all under God’s Mercy which in fact the Bible clearly states we are not all under God’s mercy.  Secondly, he seems to take all the sovereignty from God in several paragraphs.

Later, I hear he claims hell is not a real place, or something to that effect.  A question he does raise is very relevant though.  He queries whether or not Heaven is the ultimate goal of our witnessing.  I have personally struggled through this, without reaching a conclusion as of yet.

All said and done, though, in searching through what others have said about this, I enjoyed a tweet from @JamieReckless “Why is everyone so shocked that “pastors” like Rob Bell,Joel Osteen,& Jay Bakker are teaching a user friendly gospel?Our Bible tells us this”.  Very true.  He teaches what everyone wants to hear and people like him for it.  OK.  I’m done.

P.S. One more thing: What does Rob Bell believe?

and the follow up with the interviewer, Martin Bashir: Interview by Paul Edwards with Martin Bashir

Edit 4/9/11

Here is a site with a nice timeline of whats going on with Rob Bell in his heretical ravings.

Chronology of Bell’s Hell

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