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Archive for May, 2012

The truth will set you free. How true! To be specific about my own circumstance, I have found the truth about love (romance). And how liberating it has been! But in order to find this truth I had to suffer. I had to experience the pain of my own naivety about romance and the female gender. I believed that romance was the end all be all of existence. And I believed the woman was to be worshiped. She was the answer to all my problems. How wrong I was!

Romance is temporary and based solely on infatuation. After some months when you start finishing each others sentences and calling each other ‘Hon’, the romance is gone. But we crave this addiction. So inevitably the relationship ends in order to find romance again! The famous “I don’t love you anymore” usually pops up here. You discover that you were not really in love with each other but rather you were in love with love. The truth is that romance is a fleeting lie. And it still is even with the people that choose to stick it out and be married for fifty years. Romantic love has long been gone in that marriage. Ultimately, they are just best friends. Romantic relationships will never truly satisfy you simply because they can’t. Nothing temporary can. Only permanence (God) can.

Furthermore, underneath the romance is a problem that plagues me, and I would imagine many more of the male gender. We put women on pedestals and we do all we can to keep them there. Maybe this is where romance comes from (or at least the kind of romance that crosses the line into idolatry). They are beautiful but not that beautiful! We ask too much of them when we treat them like gods. No matter what a girl says she doesn’t want to be treated like a god. She wants to be treated equally. The more we treat them like they’re not the more likely we will get burned.

So the great question that comes to my mind is: why bother at all? I’m too old now to deal with another broken heart. And if in marriage you just end up being best friends with someone then why not just skip the whole love and marriage thing all together. The anguish and drama of it all! Be friends to begin with and you won’t have to hear the “can we just be friends?” line ever again! The idea of being completely equal with the opposite gender is beautiful to me. We might have a few different body parts, but we are still both human beings. So why let romance get in the way of equality? No romance. No marriage. No sex. No family. No money. Just unequivocal equality. There is no reason to make each other bear unnecessary burdens.

A girl left me because she found someone who was romantic again. I left a girl because there was no romance at all. Another girl left me because the other guy had more money. Ha, love! I don’t believe in love. I believe in Love! The truth will set you free.

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I feel guilty all the time. I can’t get away from this feeling that I am not pleasing God. Most of the things I do are a complete waste of time. If this Creator made me then why am I not living for him? If this Christ gave his life for me then why am I not giving my life for him? I sin everyday. I am no where near the person he wants me to be. Will I ever be? I feel utterly weak and exhausted from my failure to be his follower. I just want to give up. But in this feeling of defeat there seems to always be a feeling of faith combating it. He won’t leave me alone. I try to run but he always catches me. I am completely in awe of this man. This God. Oh but the guilt I feel! But how dare I feel this guilt when he willingly let his blood flow for my liberation! To feel guilty is to deny the cross. Christ forgive me for my lack of faith! Forgive me for not letting you forgive me! I just need something to do for your kingdom. I need purpose. I just need one person to take care of. To give them a cup of cold water. To show them the true meaning of the gospel. Send me a leper, a prisoner, a bum, a widow, an orphan, anybody! Because in my soul I feel like these people. I know that when I look in their eyes I will see you. The only thing I truly desire with the deepest conviction is to see you. Everything else is completely and distinctly meaningless. You are the reason for my existence. You hold me together in the same way that you hold the universe together. You keep my heart beating not to feel guilty but to feel free! And with this freedom may I praise you and give you glory with my very life. May I get dirty and uncomfortable and awkward for the kingdom of God. May I face my fears with my head held high because I know you are with me. I am weak but you are strong. Take away from me what must be taken away. I no longer take stock in the things that I claim to “love.” When I use that word it should only be for you. Oh God, take away my guilt. I have not sold all my possessions. I have not loved my enemies. I have not had faith. I have not let the dead bury their own dead. I have not given you a place to rest your head. I have thrown stones. I have been ashamed of you. I have spit in your face. I have worried. I have drawn the sword. But use me nonetheless! Use this imperfect person for your perfect will. I am nothing but you are everything. Any good I do is you and any bad I do is me. Completely envelop me so that the good will outweigh the bad. Take away my guilt. You died on a cross blameless so that I may be blameless. May I stop trying to earn a gift that you have already given freely.

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‘Anarchy and Christianity’ by Jacques Ellul

‘The more I studied and the more I understood seriously the biblical message in its entirety (and not simply the “gentle” gospel of Jesus), the more I came to see how impossible it is to give simple obedience to the state and how there is in the Bible the orientation to a certain anarchism.’

‘After conversion we are committed to a certain lifestyle and to a certain service that God requires of us. Hence adherence to the Christian faith is not in any sense a privilege in relation to other people but an additional commission, a responsibility, a new work. We are not, then, to engage in proselytizing.’

‘Now that Christianity is no longer dominant in society, it is a stupid mania on the part of Christians to cling to this or that ideology and to abandon that which embarrasses them in Christianity.’

‘All the churches have scrupulously respected and often supported the state authorities. They have made of conformity a major virtue. They have tolerated social injustices and the exploitation of some people by others, explaining that it is God’s will that some should be masters and others servants, and that socioeconomic success is an outward sign of diving blessing.’

‘All the churches have set up a clergy furnished with knowledge and power, though this is contrary to evangelical thinking, as was initially realized when the clergy were called ministers, ministerium being service and the minister a servant of others.’

‘Christians, however, if they act properly and are not wicked, do not need to obey the political authorities but should organize themselves in autonomous communities on the margin of society and government.’

‘This is the true essence of anarchism: To become a human being, yes, but a politician, never.’

‘He [Kierkegaard] is despised and rejected today as an individualist. To be sure, he ruthlessly condemned the masses and all authorities, even though they be based on democracy, One of his phrases was that “no mistake or crime is more horrible to God than those committed by power. Why? Because what is official is impersonal, and being impersonal is the greatest insult that can be paid to a person.” In many passages Kierkegaard shows himself to be an anarchist, though naturally the term does not occur, since it did not then exist.’

‘Alongside the illustrious intellectuals and theologians we should not forget the popular movements, the constant existence of humble people who lived out a faith and truth that were different from those proclaimed by the official churches and that found their source directly in the gospel rather than in a collective movement.’

‘By anarchy I mean first an absolute rejection of violence.’

‘An authoritarian government can respond to violence only with violence.’

‘Biblically, love is the way, not violence.’

‘Not using violence against those in power does not mean doing nothing.’

‘To vote is to take part in the organization of the false democracy that has been set up forcefully by the middle class. No matter whether one votes for the left or the right, the situation is the same.’

‘The political game can produce no important changes in our society and we must radically refuse to take part in it.’

‘Conscientious objection is objection not merely to military service but to all the demands and obligations imposed by our society: to taxes, to vaccination, to compulsory schooling, etc.’

‘Above all we have to remember that all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’

‘Our experience today is the strange one of empty political institutions in which no one has any confidence any more, of a system of government which functions only in the interests of a political class, and at the same time of the almost infinite growth of power, authority, and social control which makes any one of our democracies a more authoritarian mechanism than the Napoleonic state.’

‘I have never understood how the religion whose heart is that God is love and that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves can give rise to wars that are absolutely unjustifiable and unacceptable relative to the revelation of Jesus.’

‘The revelation of Jesus ought not to give rise to a religion. All religion leads to war, but the Word of God is not a religion, and it is the most serious of all betrayals to have made of it a religion.’

‘The primary role of human beings is to be those who respond to God’s love.’

‘No matter what God’s power may be, the first aspect of God is never that of the absolute Master, the Almighty. It is that of the God who puts himself on our human level and limits himself.’

‘The only serious theologians are those who have practiced what is called negative theology – not knowing what God is but saying only what he is not, for example, that money is not God, nor a tree, nor a spring, nor the sun.’

‘The mistake is to make of God either an explanatory God of the gaps or a useful hypothesis to explain the origin of the universe. But we are now returning to the simple and essentially biblically truth that God does not serve any outside purpose.’

‘The biblical God is above all the one who liberates us from all bondage, from the anguish of living and the anguish of dying.’

‘Love cannot be forced, ordered, or made obligatory. It is necessarily free. If God liberates, it is because he expects and hopes that we will come to know him and love him. He cannot lead us to do so by terrorizing us.’

‘Those who take to the sword will be killed by the sword. This is true of all the commandments. If you stay within them, your life is protected. If you break them, you enter a world of risks and dangers.’

‘You shall not kill also means that you will not have to kill. God promises that it will be possible not to kill.’

‘God’s commandments are always addressed to individuals. God chooses this or that person to do something specific. It is not a matter of a general law. We have no right to generalize the order. At most we may draw a lesson from it. Thus Jesus tells the rich young ruler to sell all his goods, to give to the poor, and to follow him. We must not generalize this command. We must not decide that all Christians have to sell their goods, etc. But the saying is designed to put us all on guard against riches.’

‘The biblical God is not a machine, a big computer, with which we cannot reason and which functions according to a program. Nor are we robots for God who have to execute the decisions of him who made us.’

‘All that which causes division between people (the very opposite of love) is the devil.’

‘God wills the good, but he leaves us free to do the opposite. If he did not, if as the Almighty he made us automatically do the good, human life would no longer have any meaning. We would be robots in his hand, toys that he has made.’

‘The first Christian generation was globally hostile to political power and regarded it as bad no matter what its orientation or constitutional structures.’

‘”Is it lawful to pay the taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or should we not pay?” The question itself is illuminating. As the text tells us, they were trying to use Jesus’ own words to trap him. If they put this question, then, it was because it was already being debated. Jesus had the reputation of being hostile to Caesar.’

‘”You know that the rulers of the nations lord it over them, and those in high position enslave them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be the servant.” Note that he makes no distinction or reservation. All national rulers, no matter what the nation or the political regime, lord it over their subjects. There can be no political power without tyranny. This is plain and certain for Jesus. When there are rulers and great leaders, there can be no such thing as good political power. Here again power is called into question. Power corrupts.’

‘Jesus does not advocate revolt or material conflict with these kings and great ones. He reverses the question, and as so often challenges his interlocutors: “But you…it must not be the same among you.” In other words, do not be so concerned about fighting kings. Let them be. Set up a marginal society which will not be interested in such things, in which there will be no power, authority, or hierarchy. Do not do things as they are usually done in society, which you cannot change. Create another society on another foundation.’

‘Jesus is not advising us to leave society and go into the desert. His counsel is that we should stay in society and set up in it communities which obey other rules and other laws.’

‘It [the church] was immediately corrupted by the relation to power and by the creation of its own authorities.’

‘The power which imposes the levy is ridiculous, and he thus performs an absurd miracle to show how unimportant the power is. The miracle displays the complete indifference of Jesus to the king, the temple authorities, etc. Catch a fish – any fish – and you will find the coin in its mouth. We find once again the typical attitude of Jesus. He devalues political and religious power. He makes it plain that it is not worth submitting and obeying except in a ridiculous way.’

‘According to Luke, Jesus surprisingly tells his disciples to buy swords. They have two, and Jesus tells them that is enough! The further comment of Jesus explains in part the surprising statement, for he says: “It is necessary that the prophecy be fulfilled according to which I would be put in the ranks of criminals” (Luke 22:36-37). The idea of fighting with just two swords is ridiculous. The two swords are enough, however, to justify the accusation that Jesus is the head of a band of brigands. We have to note here again that Jesus is consciously fulfilling prophecy. If he were not, the saying would make no sense.’

‘God judges political power, calling it the great harlot. We can expect from it neither justice, nor truth, nor any good – only destruction.’

‘All are from the very outset subject to Christ.’

‘Power is indeed from God, but all power is overcome in Christ!’

‘Setting up justice is God’s affair.’

‘The true revolution can come from God alone.’

‘Christians were accused of weakening the empire by their contempt for magistrates and military leaders……It was the fault of Christians that Roman organization was crumbling and that the Roman army had lost many frontier wars.’

‘Many documents show how hard it became to recruit curiales (mayors) for cities, governors for provinces, and military officers, because Christians refused to hold such offices……Some modern historians think that this general defection on the part of Christians was one of the most important reasons for the decline of Rome from the 4th century onwards.’

‘It is fairly certain that up to A.D. 150 soldiers who became Christians did all they could to leave the army, and Christians did not enlist in it.’

‘From the end of the 2nd century emphasis was placed on the example of soldier martyrs, that is, those who were recruited by force but who absolutely refused to serve and were put to death as a result. This happened in time of war. It is recorded that some soldiers who were chosen to execute their comrades suddenly decided on conversion and threw down their swords.’

‘The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus, an official collection of church rules at the beginning of the 3rd century, says that those who have the power of the sword or who are city magistrates must leave their offices or be dismissed from the church. If catechumens or believers want to become soldiers they must be dismissed from the church, for they are despising God. In these conditions the number of Christians who were executed rose, the period of massive persecution began, and what came to be known as “soldier saints” were created.’

‘I not only feel no opposition between my Christian faith and my anarchist convictions but my knowledge of Jesus of Nazareth impels me toward anarchism and gives me courage to practice it.’ (Adrien Duchosal)

‘I reject all human hierarchy.’ (Adrien Duchosal)

‘Finally to accept or reject the existence of God is unimportant. What counts is having the taste and joy that life gives. The discussions of philosophers and theologians trying to prove that they are right, and to make out that they are great thinkers, are all futile.’ (Adrien Duchosal)

‘We must reject totally any Christian spiritualizing, any escape to heaven or the future life (in which I believe, thanks to the resurrection, but which does not sanction any evasion), any mysticism that disdains the things of earth, for God has put us on this earth not for nothing but with a charge that we have no right to refuse.’

‘Naturally, Christians can hardly be of the right, the actual right, what we have seen the right become……the gross triumph of hypercapitalism or fascism.’

‘Anarchism can teach Christian thinkers to see the realities of our societies from a different standpoint than the dominant one of the state.’

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