Monday, October 13, 2008


Monday, 10/13 Readings
"For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1).
Everybody's got a history.

For the Ninevites, their history was that they didn't take Jonah's plea for them to repent seriously. Fast forward to a couple of centuries later in Jesus' time, and here were people not answering that call to repentance. The crowd was repeating history.

But we're free. All of us: I'm free, you're free, the Ninevites were free, and the crowd in the Gospel was free. Freedom is the realization and the practice of goodness and righteousness. God made us free in the Garden of Eden. It was purely good. But we've all somehow abused that freedom and thus fallen into the slavery of sin and evil. That's our history. And somehow, we need to regain our freedom.

Let's wake up! Repeating what we've done in the past isn't gonna move us forward. It's God who's going to get us where we're supposed to be. If our past didn't cut it back then, it's not gonna cut it now. We have to stop staying chained down to our past and any of its mistakes. We've got to cut off ties with our vices. We've got to start living for God and God alone. Because if our lives don't line up with God, we're just never gonna cut it.

Ecclesiastes says, "There is an appointed time for everything" (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Every second is a time to live better than the previous one. And we can because we're free.

Dear God, look into my mind, my heart, and my soul. Show me the things that I need to work on and make it clear, Lord. Then help me to work on these things and get rid of all the junk I don't need and fill in the empty spaces with you. Help me break free from the chains of my history of slavery. You gave us all a new loan on life when you died on that cross for us. We owe it to you to invest our lives into holiness and give you the returns you deserve. Lord God, I belong to you. Take all of me.

Monday, October 6, 2008


"I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel" (Galatians 1:6).
disclaimer: this is really long.

I heard this first from Darick, and I said it after YLSS. But I think it's one of those things that's worth keeping in our hearts (as the readings told us yesterday).

When we go into Spirit-filled retreats, we often come out with radiant faces, our hearts filled with joy. But we face a difficult life as we must return to the "real world." I hope you noticed the error in the previous statement. There is no return to the real world. What we experienced in Church is real. Just because it's not science, doesn't mean it's not real.

This brings me to another point. I watched the movie Religulous with BJ on Saturday. It was pretty funny; but more than that, it was a really good movie. Bill Maher interviewed two Catholic Priests. The first is head of astronomy at the Vatican. He was basically asked how we are supposed to reconcile scientific evidence of evolution with the Bible's creation story. He said something to the effect:

The Bible was said to have been written about 4000 years before the common era (when Jesus was 3 or 4), until the 2nd or 3rd century CE. Modern science with Galileo, Newton, Pauling, and Darwin all started in the 15th to 16th century. More than a couple hundred years passed by before people really started to understand the scientific reasons as to why/how things happen. The Bible is not a scientific text; it cannot be compared to a scientific text. Pope John Paul II even conceded that there's too much scientific evidence to argue that evolution isn't valid.

Pretty good answer, right? But it is God who allows these evolutionary changes to happen. By the way, Darwin never said that we're monkeys who walk on two legs. Evolution is a lot more complicated than a lot of people think. Once you get the right combination of genetic mutations, a whole new species is born. Silent mutations do nothing. Deleterious mutations won't get passed on long enough for a species to survive. And advantageous mutations are how God created us. We've been given this life, the lives of others, and this earth to protect.

The Monsignor he interviewed was funny. Bill Maher basically asked him about things that bother him about the Church. The Vatican bothers him in all its grandeur. "It's probably not what the Boss had in mind." It bothers him that "people of the Church" always have to look so regal. Jesus walked around in a tunic, sandals, and a walking stick and told his disciples to do likewise.

The point is, we've been given full authority to interpret Scripture, but so much of what people have done has been harmful or for selfish profit. The leaders of our Catholic Church persecuted Jews for years because they wanted their land and because they didn't believe that Jesus was the Christ. Muslims conquered most of the known ancient world because their early leaders wanted to control the land. Jews fought back sometimes against people who had persecuted them (though to this day, they still remain pretty oppressed). WHY?! Every single one of these monotheistic religions believes in the exact same god, named GOD! It's ridiculous.

Conversely, today's parable makes a lot more sense. One thing that stood out to me was Abraham's would-be sacrifice of his only son, Isaac (Genesis 22). Bill Maher stumped me when he was talking about how absurd it is that we believe that God speaks to us. He rolled a clip of a woman on trial for killing her 12 children because God told her to do it. How close is that to Genesis 22? It seems odd that God would do such a thing.

But the point of sending Jesus was to clear stuff up that seemed odd. Jesus told the Pharisee to go treat others with mercy. THAT is how God speaks to me. The Bible is what God's telling us every single day. God said, "This is my Son. Listen to him." And he told us to go treat people with compassion. Jesus told us to live humble lives in service to others for the greater glory of God. Jesus told us not to worry about money, not to store up earthly treasures, and basically not to be jerks to each other! We're commissioned by Jesus to spread the Gospel, but everyone who doesn't believe will be judged and eventually thrown into the fiery furnace... by God himself.

Jesus NEVER told US to thrown them in!!! Jesus didn't tell his disciples to seize the rich young man who asked "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" and burn him at the stake! I mean, I'm not supposed to judge, but some of the leaders in the early Church were dead wrong! Leaders who wage holy wars are not cool at all; holy wars are everything but holy.

We can't take back what happened in the past, but we have to make sure this path of unrighteousness and miseducation (I guess that's only a word to Lauryn Hill, but you get me) gets turned around. We have to love people. Jesus asks God "lead us not into temptation." No more of this "I killed her because God told me to" business. No more George Bush saying "God Bless America, but not the majority Muslim states controlling our oil supply." Those people don't get it. But are we just as ignorant? Please don't be!

Jesus summed up the Torah - the law - everything that Jews believe in, everything Mohammed started his Prophetic life and religion with Luke 10 just before this, the parable of the Good Samaritan. Love God, and love others. The word "love" appears some 400+ times in the Bible. Maybe that's not enough because some people still don't get it. 1 John 4:8 says God IS love. These are a small subset of things we need to understand. I encourage you to ask questions about your religion and your personal faith and relationship with God. Challenge it. Accept challenges from others so as to educate yourselves about THIS Gospel, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Stewart Interview:
Part 1: http://www.thedailys­­html?videoId=186755&t­itle=Bill-Maher-Pt.-1
Part 2: http://www.thedailys­­html?videoId=186756&t­itle=bill-maher-pt.-2