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Christianity

Pope Francis: Christmas festivities ‘a charade’ in a world filled with ‘war and hate’

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20 Nov 2015 at 08:51 ET

Christmas festivities will seem empty in a world which has chosen “war and hate”, Pope Francis said Thursday.

“Christmas is approaching: there will be lights, parties, Christmas trees and nativity scenes … it’s all a charade. The world continues to go to war. The world has not chosen a peaceful path,” he said in a sermon.

“There are wars today everywhere, and hate,” he said after the worst terror attack in French history, the bombing of a Russian airliner, a double suicide bombing in Lebanon, and a series of other deadly strikes.

“We should ask for the grace to weep for this world, which does not recognize the path to peace. To weep for those who live for war and have the cynicism to deny it,” the Argentine pontiff said, adding: “God weeps, Jesus weeps”.

The sermon threw a shadow over the start of the festive season at the Vatican, where a giant Christmas tree was unveiled.

The 25-metre (82-foot) high pine hails from former pope Benedict XVI’s homeland, the German state of Bavaria.

The tree, which will be decorated in time for the start of the Vatican’s Holy Year on December 8, will be festooned with ornaments made by children from cancer wards in hospitals across Italy.

This year’s nativity scene will be made up of 24 life-size figures, sculpted from wood and hand-painted.

In a nod to Pope Francis’s humble style, alongside the figures from the story of Jesus’s birth will be sculptures of ordinary people, including a man supporting an elderly person in need.


Thursday … “Siempre Adelante …” Always Moving Forwards

20140127-pope-x624-1390859938Tonight, Pope Francis is in New York City.

“Siempre Adelante …” Always move forwards,

is a motto Pope Francis has shared for years and years.

I’ve listened to what Pope Francis has said so far. And he has stuck to a theme, a Catholic Theme of being “Our brother’s keepers,” “Charity,” “Being good stewards to the earth,””Respect for life,” and that we should go out from our homes and serve the least of these with all that we have, because as Christians, we are called to serve.

Along this process, I am reading, “The Great Reformer,” about Pope Francis.

Last night, as I was reading, I came across a sermon that the young Archbishop Bergoglio was giving to the church in Argentina. And I found that the message he was sharing so long ago about people, the “Pueblo Fiel,” and what a nation must do to build up its people, to care for the poor and to take care of the world, is the very same message Pope Francis has spoken in the U.S.

Along with his words, are words that come from politicians, who believe they know something particular of the Holy Father, and they speak with indictments against him. One Marco Rubio says that “The pope know nothing about the poor, and also that he wasn’t a scientist, so should keep his counsel to himself.”

I beg to differ…

Jorge Bergoglio was a Jesuit who worked in the Jesuit order for his entire adult life, until he left the order upon assuming the Throne of Peter. He worked in the slums of South America, with the poorest of the poor. Many Jesuit priests worked with the poor, much to the consternation with the church hierarchy, and at one point, with Jorge Bergoglio himself.

Which leads to the term the Pope of the slums …

Jorge Bergoglio is also schooled in science. He is very well learned for a pope.

It was the issue between many of the priests who worked in the favelas, who thought that their work was too important to be stopped. And two priests lost their licenses and ended up being kidnapped by the guerrillas and held captive and tortured.

When American politicians speak about what THEY think is the truth about the Pope, and try to indict him, those men should really shut their damned mouths.

There are common themes that Pope Francis repeats over and over again. They are themes that were born when Francis was a young Jesuit. And as he rose in the ranks of the church, his influence only grew. And the words became flesh for him, in the way he worked so hard for the “pueblo” and what he saw as justice, charity and peace.

We could all learn a little about the life of Francis, and what he sees and believes as important.

But we need to dig a bit deeper to learn that knowledge. The papacy of Francis is still young, but there is a wealth of words written about him, if you know where to look.

I think the themes of Charity, Love and Caring for others is universal. In his speech to Congress today he quoted the Golden Rule …

“Do unto others, as you would have them do unto You.”

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It has been a challenging few days indeed. I work every day to be present and accountable; consistently. If it were possible, I could use a few more “me’s” right about now.

I had a conversation with a friend the other night. And I am confused as to why people are the way they are. I am powerless over people. And sometimes I place unattainable expectations on them, knowing, that I am flirting with stupidity.

To this end, still, people continue to astound me with their selfishness and self centeredness.

I am not preaching from some lofty perch, like God. And I am surely not arrogant to think I hold sway over anyone except myself. I hear my friends speak words, and they don’t ring true. I have implored my friends with things to do. Certain, Specific, things that need to be done.

We must succeed, or else, great failure is at hand.

We must go out and serve our brothers and sisters with all that we have, if we are able. I am able, and I devote serious time to that outreach work. The more I talk, the less goes into action, by any of the people I need to act. Before I speak, I consider my words carefully. And the other day I found an opportunity to talk and I did that. Hoping that it would bring results.

I am saddened to say, nothing has changed.

I was talking to my friend and I told her my story. Well, one big story. To demonstrate where I learned to be present, accountable and consistent. And she does not dispute my abilities.

But she said to me that There is only one of me. And she fears that I will burn out and go away when I have had enough. I’ve learned that lesson, I am in it to win it.

But she is of the mind that every human being needs three Strong, Present, and Consistent people to guarantee their survival. She doesn’t have those three people. She has me and one other woman, who’s mother is suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease, but when needed she shows up and attends to what needs to be done. The other couple of folks, are unreliable, and inconsistent and can’t be depended on, not for lack of trying, but the lack of desire to be 100% present.

We all have lives. But one of our number is in dire need of support and I do not know what to do for her but to repeat, as often as I can, that right now, I am here.

I fear that message isn’t going to be enough to ground her permanently.

If I can’t get any other players into the game, and things don’t start looking up soon, my friend is going to pack up herself and the baby and go back to New Foundland. Forever.

I don’t know what else to do. My words fall on deaf ears, and my friends are unable to rise to the occasion. And that IS a problem, that I have no solution for.

In the end, I am only one man. I am not God and I can only do so much.

**** **** ****

I drank, I stank and I sank …

That is the short version of the share we heard tonight.

One of my friends spoke tonight. It was simple and to the point. In seeing another alcoholic drink, get drunk, loose his family, his job, his home and end up sleeping in the park, our man got sober.

Coming in, at first, he believed we’d all be brown baggers, dirty clothed, and sleeping in the park, but much to his surprise, we were happy, clean and well dressed people who welcomed him.

It was the commonality, the identity, and the honesty that kept him.

And for more than twenty five years, our man hasn’t had a drink since.

Tomorrow is Friday. We’ll see what that brings with it.

More to come, stay tuned …


The love we are painted by

Do you believe in Love Lifted from: Jeremy Don’t Eat Trash

After the evening we had tonight, we need a little Jesus to lighten the load…

You know what grieves me to my core? Like, deeply grieves me? And has done for most of my life because I’ve seen it up close, I’ve seen it destroy peoples lives. People that i love intimately….

The division of Christians around the world makes me want to vomit. And i’m not talking about an 80 year old catholic being a little wary of the very outspoken, tongues-speaking, 19 year old from another country. Thats difference of experience and opinion. I’m talking about hatred. Hatred brought on by a sense of self-righteousness. A deep ignorance of Gods love for man blinded by the ‘king of the mountain’ elitist ethos that drives home the truth that man is unsavable outside of the redemptive blood of Christ.

When Jesus was asked to speak about the stoning of a woman who may have been caught in adultery he looks at the crowd and said “Throw stones if you are perfect” – They left. He then looked at the woman and said “Stop doing what you know is wrong, you are free”.

When Jesus saw a most probable fraudulent tax collector staring at Him from a tree, he didn’t start a riot to lynch Zacheus, he invited himself over for tea. Giving everyone dignity and proving that freedom is for all.

When a member of the religious elite, whom Jesus passionately defamed for their self-righteous, stumbling-block ways, met up with him to ask genuine questions, Jesus met him where he was, and treated him with respect and dignity.

When other people were casting out Demons in Jesus’ name, Jesus not only held his disciples back from stopping them, but he encouraged them that they were working together, even if it looked like they were playing for different teams.

Jesus seemed to have more issues with those making more rules, than those who were commonly looked at as rebellious. One of his own followers was a Zealot. The rock he built his church on was the same man that denied him three times even after being told he would. Others jostled for more power in the kingdom, whilst Thomas the doubter is celebrated in scripture as one who risked to make sure it was Christ.

And yet when Rob Bell reaches out to those who have completely written off Christianity as a conservative boys club, he is only befriended by Francis Chan (it seems), as the rest of Christendom (most of whom don’t know why he is black listed), black lists him as an amazing communicator and one who connects with those who do not know Jesus but deeply crave something of meaning.

When Mark Driscoll is demoted, for good reason, a fight storm blows up. Not about restoring the mans dignity, but about a whole lot of OTHER stuff that makes us feel superior somehow.

When Christian bands communicate their wish not to be labelled as that, when Christian story tellers, artists, inventors, scientists wish to contribute to the good of the world without the baggage of the destructive ununited parts of Christianity, apparently that means they are Satanists, as well as quality creators.

We don’t like doing youth group with the other church, even tho we only have 5 members each because they dress weird. Or their building isn’t hip enough. They pray differently, or they have musical instruments we don’t like.

The petty conflicts in the church have ruined Christs good name throughout the world. Jesus is presented as an ugly, trashy, irrelevant, uncreative, judgemental beast. And He is none of those things.

We should be known by our love. Our ability to get along. The way we give preference to each other, listen to each other, go out of our way to bless each others lives so that others go “WOAH, that community rules, I wanna get me some” Instead of – “Why does that community hate each other, I want nothing to do with that community”


Lets stop baking gay wedding cakes.

jasons cakeLifted from: Jeremy – Don’t Eat Trash

I just feel like refusing to bake a gay couple a wedding cake is the worst example of who Jesus is ever. Making statements by NOT doing things doesn’t sound like Christs style outside of NOT being a member of the religious elite club.

The religious elite club seemed to have pretty strict standards of building large fences around God and those who didn’t know God. Both physical boundaries like those around the temple, and social boundaries around specific behaviours and identities (prostitutes, tax collectors etc) Jesus was great at literally destroying these fences. By whipping some cows or hanging out with those he was expected not to hang out with.

I’m not sure which Jesus-time activity is the greatest equivalent to refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding, but… it seems like a stupid mountain to die a stupid death on. As the happily in love gay couple walk away from the refusal of the cake baking, are they thinking ‘Woah, Jesus must be great’?

Nope.

Baking a gay couple a cake isn’t a salvation issue. Its not a life and death situation. Baking a cake for a gay couple isn’t having sex with a dude as a dude. In fact, for a black and white conservative ‘homosexual marriage’ isn’t really a thing. Neither is non-christian marriage.

Because ‘Marriage’ is between a man and a woman and God – a “three stranded cord” to bring the glory of God on the planet and to multiply the human race to have dominion over creation in harmony with the kingdom of Heaven. Its not ordained by the state, its not ordained by the pastor even. It is a commitment between a man and a woman, agreed to by their community.

The reason the state is involved is because we forgot how to bless each other in community so the state had to stand up for the ‘injustices’ involved in crap marriages and unwanted children. Although NOW, the state involvement seems more to do with tax and inheritance than anything else.

In fact, for most black and white conservatives Christians ‘homosexual marriage’ doesn’t really seem like its a thing. Neither is non-christian marriage. Because ‘Marriage’ is between a man and a woman and God – a “three stranded cord” to bring the glory of God on the planet and to multiply the human race to have dominion over creation in harmony with the kingdom of Heaven. Its not ordained by the state, its not ordained by the pastor even.

It is a commitment between a man and a woman, agreed to by their community. The reason the state is involved is because we forgot how to bless each other in community so the state had to stand up for the ‘injustices’ involved in crap marriages and unwanted children. Although NOW, the state involvement seems more to do with tax and inheritance than anything else.

So taking away the states odd involvement in marriage, gay marriage is two people convinced that they want to commit to each other for the future and their community stands in agreement to their decision.

Now, separate to the argument of ‘gay marriage in the church’ which I believe is a completely different issue as to the leadings of the creator and saviour of the world, a gay couple, deciding to be together forever, choosing to let ‘the state’ and their community join them in celebrating their choice enter a cake baking establishment. Because that’s what a cake baker does.

They bake cakes for the consuming of said cake at specific celebrations. The cake baker is not a part of the couples community. The cake baker is not invited to the ceremony. They are simply asked to trade money for a baked good.

This representative of capitalism and creative foodstuffs then proudly stands there and refuses to do what they actually do, because they disagree with what the cake is for (which is neither illegal or effects their lives in anyway) And for some reason we think ‘I did Jesus a great service today’ as if that is the good news. That Jesus came to seek and save the lost, unless….. they are gay and want a cake.

Our crap logic and knee-jerk conservatism doesn’t just stop at gay cake making either. Our days are filled with these strange black and white decisions that we have concluded brings glory to our saviour and lover Jesus Christ when really they turn people away from the community of redemption that we enjoy and represent.

I didn’t get told about Jesus after I had become perfect. In fact i still am not, but I am counted among those called by his name, and it is saddening when we dirty that name by choosing holiness instead of love, when our job is not to be holy in our own right, we are called to be holy as Jesus was holy. Which, looks more like bringing people to God for him to love, instead of being the doorman at an exclusive club that only lets the rich, white and straight people in.


Belief, Faith and Practice …

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When is it important to expect Belief, Faith and Practice to be unified?

I have given you some comments via other writers on the recent rash of states decisions to promote the practice of hate and exclusion, in the name of religion or the practice of ones faith, or the fear that the freedom to practice their faith and religion is being diminished because a Christian would have to serve his brother or sister, and that brother or sister being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered.

I can say, with pride, that I earned degrees in Religion and Theology.

I can also say, with pride, that I have the faith of a family and faith of my own to draw on.

When it comes to recovery and my belief, my faith and practice, are rock solid. I have no doubt, in my mind, that there is a God. And I am not He.

Today I speak with my voice to tell you that I am FED UP with governments choices when it comes to legislating hatred on a state level as well as on a governmental level. I am FED UP with Christians who speak from both sides of their mouths, when it comes to faith and practice.

When can you call out a Christian for being not – so – much – a – Christian?

For every man, woman and child on earth, there is a way to practice faith, be that faith among the lists of faiths that are claimed on the earth.

Some say they know God.
Some say they know their Bibles.
Some say they they speak for one, and believe in the other.
Then there are those who know neither.

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I have, in the past, been called to task for my faith and my practice, when it comes to my education as a Homosexual Christian. I have, in the past, been victimized by one particular church in the United States, who seem to think that being a Homosexual and a Christian, are incompatible with God’s word. That I could not possibly be both. That I can’t be both.

That what I am, is incongruous with who I claim to be.

Today I want to call out all of those Christians, that Speak the name of God, out of one side of their mouths, and also speak and practice hatred out the other side of their mouths.

I don’t believe that God honors a human being that speaks His name so confidently and at the same time can speak and practice hatred and bigotry.

You cannot claim to speak for God and speak His name, and do the exact opposite by your actions. Your faith must abide with your practice.

God does not abide in Hate
God does not abide in Bigotry
God does not abide in Homophobia
God does not abide in Exclusion
Jesus Christ, as I live and breathe, never condoned exclusion
Jesus went out of his way to pointedly INCLUDE everyone that was excluded

We are amid Holy Week and Passover right now. The most blessed and anointed time of the liturgical year for Christians and Jews. Everything we claim to be and the faith we claim to practice, began during Holy Week.

Was everything that Jesus did and said, faith and practice, just words in a book? How can you look yourself in the mirror every day and call yourself Christians, when you cannot stand up and do and say what Jesus asked you to do and say?

What did he say?

For what ever you do to the least of these you have done to me.
Love your neighbor as yourself.

You cannot serve two Masters.
You cannot serve God and hate your fellow man or woman
Your Faith and Practice must abide
Live the Word, Breathe prayer

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

We cannot stand by and allow the Right, The Christian Right, to roll over and rip apart the fabric of the nation, that we are all a part of and the world at large. We cannot allow Christians who profess Christian faith to oppress and exclude our brothers and sisters, because of their sexual orientation.

This is NOT a just cause.

This is plain and simple. I’m really not sure what Bible these people are reading, nor where it is written that based on ones “Faith and Practice” I (read: GOD) Divine you the right to exclude your fellow man or woman, because of their sexual orientation ! Where did God ever mention exclusion of Gays and Lesbians, Bisexuals or Transgendered humans?

We’ve had this discussion. It is appropriate to mention Matthew Vines and his groundbreaking book, God and the Gay Christian. He, with his minions of believers, are changing the face of Christian faith and practice. We have discussed those seven biblical passages that the most vehement of Christians, still stand behind that allow them to hate and exclude.

When I was a child, I was introduced to God, by women I revere and honor to this day. Everything that I am, came from what they taught me about Life, God, Faith and Practice.

My parents claimed to be Christians, Catholics and Believers. They spent decades waiting for a man of God to absolve them for their choice in preventative birth control, when Holy Mother Church, kicked parishioners out of the fold, because of their choices of preventative birth control.

They eventually got that absolution. They turned around and served God to the best of their ability. And they did that work gladly and without complaint. But when it came to the fact that I was a homosexual, their faith and practice splintered.

They began to speak out of both sides of their mouths.

Well before I ever decided to come out of my self imposed closet, I knew, well and good what they actually thought about Jews, Niggers, Dark skinned Asians. and Homosexuals. I knew this was truth because I listened to them for years, pontificate their hatred and bigotry and serve God at the same time.

My father abused me terribly, because he feared me becoming a homosexual, because I was friends with adult homosexuals and that was an abomination. And he was going to beat homosexuality out of me if it was the last thing he ever did.

But they could not serve two masters. Practice went by the wayside. I cannot tell you what their faith looks like today, because I, along with my aunt Paula, have been blacklisted by the family, shut away in the darkness of radical faith and resentment, to have our voices and lives shut in the dark, never to be acknowledged.

When I got sick and came very close to death, from AIDS, I turned to my family for faith, support and practice. They in turn, turned their backs on me and denied me love, faith and family.

The last holiday I went home for Christmas, my father humiliated me in front of a table full of guests they had invited for dinner. He went on to encourage me to “die quickly!”

My mother, a Christian, a Catholic, at one time, worked in Home Healthcare for the sick. She served the least of these, albeit grudgingly. Every night after work, with colleagues in tow, would come home, pop a beer or two, and talk about the faggots with AIDS that they had to visit with medication to help keep them alive, and their only wish, in that moment, was that for them just to die already !

My parents called me things like dirty homosexual.
They called me sick.
They called me an ABOMINATION …

And they claimed they could use these kinds of words because they read it in their bibles. And believe you me, we had a bible. I never saw them open it nor read from it.

I knew what good faith and practice was. I went to church. I served God. I spent a year in a Catholic Seminary, only to be told that my faith and practice were not good enough to pass muster and they told me to leave and not return.

In my darkest night of horror, the family I trusted to stand with me did not. When I needed them the most, they were absent, by choice. Because of their faith !!!

It then fell to the man named Todd who stepped in and became God incarnate, and he saved my life, when I should have died, by the side of the road, alone and destitute.

He chose to step in. He chose to save me. From all those others in our circle, he picked me.

Because He loved me unconditionally, as God loved me unconditionally.

The family I came from, could not and would not love me unconditionally, because of their faith and practice. Because I was one, a homosexual, and two, because I had AIDS, therefore God’s judgment came down upon me and He spoke my death to them.

Sadly, families all over North America still believe, in faith and practice, that because we are Homosexuals, and some have AIDS, God has spoken his condemnation upon us for our past transgressions and for who we are as human beings.

Therefore we are owed no Love, Respect or Salvation.

It is ABOMINABLE for a Christian to speak out of both sides of their mouths. You cannot serve God and hate your neighbor. You cannot claim to Love God and hate your neighbor.

You cannot love God and Hate your neighbor.

Every day you decide to hate your neighbor, or exclude your neighbor you spit in the face of Jesus and you desecrate the faith you proclaim. You did not do as Jesus asked you to do.

Therefore, can you, Christian, still call yourself a Christian, and hate your neighbor?

That answer is NO !!!

What Would Jesus Do ???

… Jesus Wept …


Forgiveness Changes Lives.

Do you believe in Love Lifted from Jeremy – Don’t Eat Trash – Originally posted on Sept. 15, 2011

Since we are in Steps across many meeting, I thought this reflection was appropriate.

I treat Gods forgiveness like that stanky dish cloth that doesn’t merely spread the dirt around, it adds to the dirt. Or some kind of dish washer that makes us feel nice for a couple of minutes – the boiling hot sterile water. But then when we get taken out of the washer later, there is still the crusty pasta baked on the side.

Gods forgiveness is complete.

It is deep and wide, and like steel wool it scrubs back to the original intention.

Watching myself and close friends through life, it saddens me to find that we struggle with the same sins for years and years because we don’t let His forgiveness liberate our souls. Often is the time when I have been asked if there’s anything I need to confess and I always go back to the same confessions only later to realize God has forgiven me of that. Also watching how that subtle condemnation sometimes goes full circle, and is used by the enemy to take me out.

The subtle whispers, the mistrust. Of not only ourselves but of other people. It all becomes an environment of disunity, suspicion and un-forgiveness.

If our view of Gods forgiveness is that it’s not complete. That it’s only partial and needs repetition. – what kind of model does that set up for us?

When I am wronged by a brother and I only forgive him partially, I leave open a huge door for resentment to walk through, resentment when watered into bitterness can end up in destroying relationships. Revenge becomes a normal response, we second guess everyone’s motives and end up dividing everything, because we haven’t forgiven completely.

Take the bleach of forgiveness and clean everything with it. I have wronged God most, if not every day of my life. I have rebelled and walked completely away from him for weeks and years. I have besmirched his name by living like a butt-head whilst hoisting his name on a banner.

He has forgiven me. He has wiped my slate clean. He has bleached my soul – I am rescued and forgiven. Gods example of forgiveness frees me to forgive similarly. If I forgave everyone – freeing my heart and mind and if everyone forgave me and if we held short accounts with each other…..

We would be unoffendable. We would all understand that we are all fallible, we are all imperfect at present, and we need each others help to stay on top of everything.

How communities would change and improve.

Now a little difference between bleach and forgiveness. Bleach is powerful and shouldn’t be drunk. Bleach smells and makes its presence known. But a lot of the time God’s forgiveness is subtle, loving, gentle – not looking for attention. Outside of Christs death, that was more gruesome then theatrical – Gods forgiveness of us is genuine and quiet.

So should our forgiveness. We shouldn’t trumpet it around. We shouldn’t make banners.

In all of my room-mate relationships, I’ve had to ask forgiveness a few times and all of my room mates have been very quick to forgive. The ways they gently and no-questions-asked forgiven me, means I’m even quicker to say sorry the next time, I’m quicker to run to get that bleach on me. If our view of God is that he is doom and gloom, incomplete at cleaning and overtly condemning, why would we remotely be near him?

Can we forgive each other like God does?
Can we run after perfection and purity, whilst having the ability to run to God quickly for forgiveness when we need to?

Is your picture of Gods forgiveness one of bleach or the dish cloth that does nothing?


Merry Christmas 2014

tumblr_lw2bl4yyhC1qzcvqpo1_500 rawrdanieltumblr_m87fjdSpOA1ravgvuo1_500 jackandfinnCourtesy: RawrDaniel and JackHarries – Christmas Past

I stayed up late last night watching the Tubes for a while. Our local radio station that usually does overnight radio, is running Christmas music ad nauseum, ugh enough already !!! BAH !!!

Like I have said before, we really don’t get into that shop till you drop mentality. So Christmas is a little subdued. A couple of gifts, things we need, or maybe a surprise or two in the mix. Holidays are really about family and friends, and the table we will sit at later today.

This Christmas was all about Woks, headphones, and Max …

Hubby is Le Chef de Mission here at home. Keeping with tradition, he gets the latest and greatest cooking pans on the market. One of our staple meals is stir fry. And we needed a new Wok, so that was under the tree.

Then it was the Big Box – gifts for both of us in one swing. That was a big hit. New headphones.
Thank you Skull Candy !

Max got an upgrade with a 1 GB memory stick. That was much needed, because my library is pretty full as it is. I also got a shiny new mouse pad. My old mouse pad was really in bad shape.

That’s it for gifts. Nothing too grandiose.

The bird is in the oven, and we are on track for an early afternoon dinner with friends.

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A Christmas Reflection 2014

Today the Queen of England spoke about reconciliation, and the pause in hostilities during the Great War, where British and German troops, in dug out trenches, put down their guns, as the German soldiers sang “Silent Night,” in the night. The British followed suit.

What happened next is the story of legends. The next morning, Christmas Day 100 years ago today, the soldiers came out of their trenches meeting in no mans land for a game of footy, and to exchange presents and greetings.

Imagine, if the world today, took a collective breath, and hostilities were stopped for one day. Imagine, if the world could bring the many, into reconciliation, and END hostilities world wide !

IDEOLOGIES …

I have a friend who eschews holidays, those consumer driven celebrations that pop up every once in a while, Birthdays, Anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Christmas … Love is an every day feeling. Family is an everyday gathering. Celebrating the lives of others, is a 365 days a year event.

We’ve learned, over the years, what is most important. When the tree goes up, it is a family event. It is a celebration of love, because we created a ritual for the tree. At Christmas our extended family goes well beyond to gift us all with something particularly special. And we return the gesture in kind.

For the past few years, our older members in the fellowship have been alone, they live alone and only go out for meetings, or shopping, or they go without. Us younger members have taken on the work of living in community with our men and women.

We break bread with them regularly. We celebrate holidays together, some share musical talent with them. All so that we do something good on a regular basis, with them, so that they are not alone. My guys are all connected to helping others when they can. Because they are able, and it is the right thing to do.

Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus. A blessed birth come to pass in a humble manger in Bethlehem. Yes, the birth of Christ is important. It is the beginning of the story. But if you think about it, the end of the story of Jesus, is the culmination of God becoming man, and having a human experience, to sacrifice himself for the good of mankind.

Christ came to speak words of truth, to heal the sick, to chastise the greedy and wealthy, to give food to the hungry and pardon the sinner. He called twelve men to follow him, they would eventually follow and begin to create simple Christianity, that has blossomed into the Christianity of today.

The end of the story, the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, is Man’s Saving Grace. Sacrifice is God’s greatest gift to mankind. He came so that we could have life, and life abundantly. Christ dying on the cross is the pinnacle of the meaning of Christianity. Coming to save man, by dying on a cross.

Sacrifice … Love … Salvation …

I remember when I was a young boy, going to my first retreat, and hearing the words, and listening to people speak about God, Jesus and Salvation. And at the end of it all, the altar call came, and one by one we stood and turned our lives over to this man we call Jesus.

It was a Mountaintop experience.

But like Moses, we too, had to come down from the mountain, and re-enter the world.

In those days, open carrying a bible in public school, was akin to having leprosy for teens.

It marked you as different. Odd. They called us Jesus Freaks, and we were. For a while at least.

I can’t say that I succeeded in my zeal for Jesus given the home I lived in and the schools I went to.

But that time is not lost on me considering my university education and the work I do every day.

Imagine what it was like to proclaim the life of Jesus as a follower to your fellow man. Imagine what it was like for those apostles and then the people. It was like that for us. I’ve learned a great deal of what it means to follow the man we call Jesus today.

That is a 365 day journey. Not just on Easter Sunday or Christmas Day, or Epiphany.

We should love one another every day. We should honor our mates every day. We should honor our children every day. The holidays have been Frankensteined into conglomerate days of greed, money and consumerism.

If it ain’t black Friday, it doesn’t matter.

Tomorrow, bar none, people will be lining up, getting dirty, and fighting tooth and nail to get that 6 a.m. door buster prize. And I guarantee you that by 6 p.m. there will be numerous reports of holiday cheer going out the window as people beat each other up, or shoot one another for that Big Screen tv, or pair of high end sneakers.

Christmas is a day. I’ve encouraged my friends to go out into their communities and serve the less fortunate. But this too is not just a Christmas job, it is an every day job. I’ve said before that if we took all that money we spend on national and international defense and war spending and putting that money to better use, we could change the lives of millions in short order.

Sadly, the world operates on the conflict of the people, whether we like to admit that or not. It is Big Business. And those who have all the money and power rely on the conflict within the people to make their millions, billions and trillions of dollars.

The Christmas message is lost on them totally.

If you miss the real meaning of Christmas, let me remind you of a few point of order:

  • It’s not about the gifts under the tree, but the people around it
  • It’s not about how much money you spend, but the love that you share
  • It’s about family and who sits at your table for your holiday meal
  • It’s about that checker girl/guy at the grocery store, be kind
  • It’s about the less fortunate and random acts of kindness
  • It’s about the birth and beginning of the life of a man who would change the world
  • In the end it is all about the Sacrifice for the salvation of the world
  • It isn’t about what religion you profess, but the God that gives you life
  • It is the peace you share, and the fact that we are spiritual beings having a human existence

The Holidays are a “WE” event. It is not an “I” event. Dinner later on will be a We event.

And later tonight, WE will gather for a Christmas Night Meeting.

More to come …

Part 2 …

The weather held for the evening. But man is it windy. Where is all that wind coming from, and where did it originate? The wind was buckling the windows all evening while we napped after Christmas dinner.

Dinner was a nice meal, with friends and family.

We set out a bit early due to the fact that the buses are on Sunday Schedule for the holiday. Arriving at the church, a good number of people came out for the meeting. I half expected more to come, but we filled the room nonetheless.

Tonight we heard one of our women. One of the many women who feed my desire to be a better man, a sober man, who has done his work, and gives it away to others who want it as well.

In the beginning the story is the same. We were born, most, into dysfunctional families, feeding us mixed, and sometimes the wrong message about ourselves. And that leads into us becoming who we are in that period of time, and usually, but not in all cases, the messages we are fed, lead us into the world of drugs and alcohol to escape, to enhance, and even to blot out what we are hearing and in the end feeling.

Some, in the beginning, come, they look around, and they leave. We find this the case with our young people. How can I, (read: Being so young) have such problems that would need the intense work that we provide to them? For many young people, youth means that they have at least ten to fifteen years of good partying life ahead of them, and the mere thought of turning it all over and coming in for good is such a Tall Order …

Some come, and they stay, and they make a life out of it. But the stats are not good.

The WOMEN I speak so highly about so often, changed my life. Most of those women, by extension and by lineage, are sponsored, grand sponsored and great grand sponsored by women who live in New York City. The message came from one, to the next, and the next, and then finally to them personally. I was in the right place at the right time to hear this and see this in action.

And I wanted so badly to be part of it. And now I am. They say it is difficult to blunt a raging forest fire. Imagine for a moment, a bunch of crazy women on fire for the book and the solution. I had lunch with one of my ladies yesterday. They all warm my heart.

If you stick around, and you get the right message, that the book gives you, you too can join the fire for the book as well. They say that if you want to hide something from an alcoholic, put it in the Big Book. Because most alcoholics won’t read the book, until it is imperative they do so. You can only sit in your chair for so long, until someone sits with you and offers to take you through the book like we do it.

The Solution … I’ve learned that I can be with myself. Alone, quiet, in the center of the storm where the winds are calm. I’ve learned that I don’t have to save anyone, that all I have to do is take care of me, and with that done, I can help take care of someone else.

No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.

Listening to sponsees, reminds me why I am here. Because I hear what happened to them, and I know that some of the same things happened to me as well. Good Healing Fire spreads quickly. We hear our friends share in discussion meetings, but it is also good to hear them share on the open stage at a speaker meeting. I’ve heard her before, and tonight I got to see and witness personal progress.

We claim spiritual progress, not spiritual perfection.

Every day we get a daily reprieve, contingent on our spiritual condition.

I understand what that means to me. Because I learned how to do it myself. You may not be one for prayer, or meditation. And in the beginning who can sit still for more than five minutes, at that? I had to practice. And that practice took months upon months, With serious time under my belt.

I had to step up my game if I wanted to reap the rewards of spiritual fitness.

Three, Seven and Eleven … daily, on your knees, humble before God. It is an act of humility to get down on ones knees to pray. Because they say, “When life gets too hard to stand, Kneel.”

Everybody has a journey to take, and no two journeys are the same.

THE WORK is the same for all of us, out of the same book, heading in the same direction.

That’s why I read the book with my guys once a week. That’s why I read the book with my sponsor.

Today, I, like many of my friends, live in the solution.

It was a good night.

My other observation for the night was of one particular homeless man, who has been homeless as long as I’ve been sober. And probably longer than that. The homeless in our city have a routine.

Whether they begin in the East and and work their way West, or from West to East, they either ride the rails, or ride the bus. From one side of the city to the other. Most of them go without food on a daily basis, but they have enough money to provide a bus pass to travel.

Where does that money come from, who provides it, when they can’t afford to eat?

Meetings run on similar lines across town, North, South, East and West. You can get to any meeting by rail and by bus. Our homeless population are well known in our circles, because they show up diligently on time for the meeting, for free coffee and cookies, and/or whatever free food is on the table. That is probably the mainstay of their meals on any given day, unless of course they visit a shelter or food station downtown.

Our city and by extension, our country hides a dark secret, out in the open, and we are powerless to affect change. The city can only do so much. Volunteers can only do so much, and the shelters and food stations can only do so much. Winters are brutal for our homeless. Because there are so many, there are spare resources for them on any given night, so they troll the city from one end to another every night.

Some collect bottles and cans. That is certain money in their pockets. Can and Bottle return is a booming business. The grocery store on the corner does really good business every day. I see the same folks come day in and day out, with tons of cans and bottles. One of them, I don’t know where he gets them all, but he probably collects a thousand cans a day add to that boxes of beer bottles as well.

There are entire populations of people who go without. Entire populations that live well, WELL below the poverty level. People at high levels of government have asked the Prime Minister what he will do for the those who need so much, and last week I heard him say on tv, that “well, they are not even on our radar, to be honest!”

How can you run a country that has so much, and gives so much away to foreign nations, that so many of your own people go without, and come off saying that they are not on your radar and that in turn, they are not important for the country, the provinces and the entire nation?

How can you stand yourself knowing that you ignore entire populations of people, because it isn’t expedient or that it is beneath you – or not politically sound to care or even act like you care for votes when the time comes?

That’s a political hot potato.

Human interest stories at the governmental level are ignored.

No government is perfect, anywhere in the world.

In a country that is so rich, a first world nation, we have entire populations of people who live in third world conditions, and that is terribly sad. I have ideas to float for all of these problems. They sound easy to me when I repeat them in my head, they sound good, they look good, but in the end, to make sweeping changes that many of us agree need to be made, that would take money. More money that most governments want to throw on people who do not matter to their bottom line.

VOTERS.

Most of those people do not vote. Most of those people have substandard homes if they have that at all, countless numbers of them are homeless, drug addicted and alcoholic. Many of them have mental and emotional problems that are never addressed because there is no money and not enough resources to help them all. Hell, even in first world populations, in the biggest cities, across the country, many people face these same problems, and they too go without.

We are heading into election territory in 2015.

Getting these issues onto a stage where they are heard and dealt with is wishful thinking.

Another Christmas, and some of our folks went without. again …

It costs money to take a homeless person off the street. Clean them up, first, then try and find them someplace safe and economical to live, but then you need to find the money to allow them to pay rent, utilities, buy food and live a substantive life. Treat their problems accordingly, but with what resources and from where? How do we do that ?

I asked a friend on the way home about the man I am speaking about now, and I said that he has been homeless as long as I’ve been sober, how do we get him off the street ? And his answer was simply, that he doesn’t want to get off the street ! Now is that by choice, by default, or lack of concern for his own welfare?

This is all terribly troubling when we live these lives of having everything that we need. And on the fringe, just below the radar, so many have little to nothing to call their own.

What did you do for the least of these today?

jersey crop

And with that, my Very Mario Christmas comes to an end.

Thank you for reading, for subbing and for being a part of my life.

Goodnight.


Three In One.

tumblr_l9aodkIKWb1qzk77co1_500 singlifessongLifted from: Jeremy – Don’t Eat Trash, Originally posted Aug. 9, 2011.

a week and a half ago i began a journey to my brothers wedding that has completely changed everything.

As an outward processor i haven’t really done anything to get it out. My brain has been full of half thoughts and the excitement of possibilities. Through conversations with my family, hearing speeches, watching people, reading two books, 4 amazing conversations and then finally a train trip to the central coast.

I am at breaking point.

The men and women i really want to suss this out with are interstate or three flights away and so i start here. in the most public forum i have.

I invite you to read and think. and react. I don’t know where i will end up in this thinking, i’m not looking for fights, i am looking for a process to get rid of stuff i don’t need and keep to the things i have been designed for so i can change the world one person, or even, one nation state at a time.

I will start from some semblance of beginning…… (realizing i can’t do that to the detail i want)

lets speed through the beginning.

trinity – building blocks of existence – non violent – fully united – fully knowing their identity and role – fully submitted to the communal victory.

Us – adopted fully into the trinity through christ, to bring heaven to earth,

God – sovereign – The will of God – to reconcile all to him –  to unify ALL.

And I pause for a moment. Still not knowing where to go from here. So I will simply go from two tweets that I posted in the last 48 hours.

“If we are predestined anywhere its to be with the trinity”

the second being

“Gods love is his holiness. Not elitism. No comparison. No violence and all the unity. Like the trinity, love and holiness are one.”

The idea that we are chosen before birth if we go to “heaven” or “hell” doesn’t make sense to me. The idea that God knows where we are going when we are born doesn’t fill me with relational confidence, but having a God that doesn’t know everything, doesn’t either. A God who decides to relate to us in ways we need to be related to and love us the way we’ve been created to love though…..

The word predestination holds with it such ridiculous weight that has split communities down the middle and I don’t plan on exploring it fully but it seems like the consequences of the different definitions would completely change how we function as people.

If the word and concept means we are picked already, irrelevant of how we live, then why love? Why spread truth? Why learn anything if we can’t change anything?

If it means “called” to certain things, or pre indicated, pre disposed – more likely to do so, then one would somehow have to figure out what that “pre” thing is and follow it to its zenith.

Or like an arrow to a target – this arrow is predestined to reach the bulls-eye. The archer will be highly trained, will spend months on practicing shots. The arrow gets to its predestined target, but not until after its been through the target in other ways, or missed completely. But that archer is determined. He will keep training his hands and arms, keep rebuilding targets if need be and upgrade his bow. Because he wants that arrow to hit the target.

Humanity is strange because we are so good at comparing. We are so good at being elitist. We are so good at failing.

We were created perfect. We were created the apple of Gods eye, paradise in form, heaven on legs. We were the best. That’s Gods target. Triune-like community. He hit it.

Now its here that in a way the word arrow picture doesn’t fit, because Gods aim never misses. So I wonder if we are the arms. In relationship could our role be the arms. God as the brain and the aim makes a perfect shot every time but we mess it up? So God sends Christ to re affix the nerves and muscles that we severed so that we are getting messages from the brain again. But its not perfect. And our arrows definitely aren’t hitting every time.

But because of Jesus they are. Because of Jesus, God sees them as hitting? Or mid flight Jesus corrects them? Or because of Jesus, ultimately they will hit after picking them up from the ground a few times. A perfecting.

And its that perfecting that I’m hazy about.

Who decides this perfecting? When does it end? When does it start? Is it really an individual choice? Can I opt in or out at any moment?

Its this point that in the discussions in my head I start ranting about a conversation thread that has been formed on the back of multiple conflicting books and a childhood of church arguments.

The elitist humans that are right assume the right that they get to judge. When they are neither judge nor jury they are merely created. When humans assume judging rights it distracts us from our loving responsibility. And helps us to forget our rock bottom need for rescue, our invitation onto the rescue team.

Christ is judge (THANK YOU LORD) so we need not worry about it.

As created beings who are we to design our own lines of ownership or salvation or truth or Gods or languages or schedules?

And then I get to a place that I realize I to, am putting forth a picture of God. I too am questioning where the lines are and will eventually draw one (I hope not) so where does that put me?

So I open it to a statement

–       I believe we were created for intimate vulnerable love to share – very similar if not – the love of the trinity. For no other reason other then God made us for that because its awesome.

–       We are predestined for that love. Gods sovereignty deigns that he will get his way. Who are we to put mortal limitations of how he will succeed?

–       Our job is and never will be one outside of Christ-like love who split no churches, ran from no responsibility and was around people 24/7 unless he was alone with the father.

Secondly

“Gods love is his holiness. Not elitism. No comparison. No violence and all the unity. Like the trinity, love and holiness are one.”

If we were designed for that. If God will fight for that through all circumstances. Then we have nothing to worry about.

I once heard that holiness is a legal term to describe relational perfection.

RELATIONAL.

A holy person can sometimes be pictured as that weird hermit up in the mountains with very little connection with humanity. He is clean, wise, good. But he’s not relational and he’s definitely not perfect at relationship.

GOD IS.

God is one with three. We were designed for that also.

Gods love – his relationality is his relational perfection. He’s not somewhere else. He is not distant. He has not walked away from us because we stuff up. He is where he needs to be. Perfect.

So when we discuss – is God loving before he is holy? Do we need to be holy and then loving? Do we need to get our rubbish together and in a neat pile before we love?

They are one and the same. They can’t be separate.

So we need to get dirty in our relational perfection instead of trying to keep our white shirts clean. We need to go to the hurting and dying and unloved because that’s where Gods holiness would love.

So my musing is now this

If God created us for… His will is…. His holiness is…..

God wants heaven on earth…. Now.

He wants us loving, he wants us serving, he wants us spreading truth not fear, hospitality not oppressive division, tolerance and space to change (ala grace) not offense and traditional comfort zones.

God will hit the bullseye with his arrows.

He’ll just do it quicker if we be less douches to each other and ask God living advice.

So can we just be not right?

Can we not need to know who is saved or not as long as everyone is running towards perfection?

Plus a billion more questions….

II Application

Christ has one name. A banner we stand under, a saviour king with an army of lovers and peace bringers.

We did the census tonight, and amongst the questions in the census was – religious persuasions. There was no Christian option. Followers of Jesus now have to choose other. Or a sect that comes under some other title other then our rescuers.

So its official. The love and grace that is handed to us on a silver platter is so splintered in our acceptance that its now a secular way to label us.

Imagine for a second – a unified world. Under the banner of one loving and wise ruler. The new world order, based not on globalised economy but on love.

Imagine the conversations you would have when you first meet a fellow Christian. It wouldn’t be “so what church are you from” Waiting for the answer so we could put our brother or sister in a box, with historical attachments that then label them anything from a raving idiot, to an elitist, racist, ignorant… the list goes on for miles.

We like labeling each other, we like ridding ourselves of the need to relate. We like being right.

Why not start the conversation with a heart felt “what is God teaching you” We derive encouragement not only from people saying nice stuff about us, but others giving us the chance to share with each other exciting adventure stories, of when God showed up.

The flip side to this is. If not even christs followers can be united and get it “right” on a large universal scale, why to we expect non Christians too? What gives us the right to judge? To preach death? To box and label whose that are unboxable.

Our love of boxes spreads even to our father-God himself. I once sat on a stair well photographing an almost complete stranger who looked me dead in the eye and said “the last six month has blown the box that I held God in completely apart. But now I’m afraid I’ll just put him in a larger box”

We are designed not for boxes, not for labels, and not for divisions. But we are designed for freedom, love and unity.

We just have to figure out how to unite with brothers and sisters who think the opposite of us.

If anyone knows the family I come from, sometimes it doesn’t make sense that we love each other so much. Especially now we are all into our twenties, we live in four different cities in Australia. But we are united by a love that surpasses preference.

What parts of our own families aren’t boxed but grind?

Is there times we need to not speak of something for awhile in preference for love?

Is there times we have to put effort into calling up one another and inviting the other over for a meal in the midst of being awkward?

III – Plan, Do, Review: Insanity.

Theres a famous Albert Einstein quote about how insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

As creatures of habit we will occasionally, if not often, attempt this. We continue running schedules into the red, into debt, eating too much, leaving late etc etc whilst expecting it all to just get better.

In school I used to leave all my assignments till the last minute as if magically I would be better at them. For years I would get up late and just expect to find extra time sometime during the day. But its crazy. To not get results we want but to continue down the same road.

One of the best examples in my life would be a band I played in for multiple years. All writing members of the bands were very busy. So busy in fact that none of us made time for practicing our own instruments outside of band practice. We didn’t make time for writing by ourselves, or improving anything. So communal band practice was a weird mash of learning new techniques, writing, re learning things and occasionally learning that our equipment is broken. But every week we would arrive at practice hoping and expecting to get better as a band. In four years we played 5 shows. We released 4 songs. Neither original guitarists got all that much better.

We did the same thing expecting the results to change.

The last fifty years have been interesting times for the church. I was born 26 years ago, slap bang into a traditional arm of the body that had only been alive for 20 or so years. My 12 year old self could walk into a service in most congregations in Australia and know exactly whats going to happen. Nothing has changed. People have changed a little bit. Faces have definitely changed. But the shape hasn’t. This isn’t unique to that brotherhood. Church meetings in some communities haven’t changed for hundreds of years.

Are these the groups that are growing rapidly? Effecting change everywhere they go? Not usually. These are the groups that are slowly dying because their only congregants are descendants, but even now the children are leaving.

Why do we fear change?

Why do we feel like we need to find a truth that we like and then camp for the rest of our lives under that aspect of church?

Is it ease?

Is it satan?

Is it ignorance?

My heart got excited last weekend because I sat in a church service that amongst it the preacher got up and said the words that are like a salve to my heart “If it doesn’t work we need to fix it”

They are going through a painful but beautiful process of growth. Painful because its too quick for some and too slow for others. Beautiful because they are doing it together. They are fighting for unity patiently and honourably.

I got asked last week why I feel like I need to push boundaries, and if I thought there was a time when I would stop.

It stopped me. Because as a 19 year old I would’ve answered a simple word – “rebellion” But I feel like I don’t push boundaries as rebellion anymore. I push them for freedom.

Imagine a field. But you a trapped in a tiny stone house in the middle of it. You don’t gain any freedom in that little house until you push the boundaries. And the further back you push them the more freedom you have.

I believe God has a lot of freedom for us. We just need to push back certain things.

Do we need to change?

What do we need to change?

What do you need to change?

And

What boundaries are holding back your freedom?


The pin board of Atheist mistruths.

Do you believe in Love Lifted from: Jeremy Don’t Eat Trash

Conscience and worldview are interesting things that can be retrained. For definition sake, because both are defined multiple ways, when I say conscience I mean the pin board we hang our values on. We can retrain the pin board to hold different values but its pretty tough, and world view is our presuppositions about the world and the pin board. The wall that the pin board is on lets say.

So, as apart of bringing the people out of Egypt, God had to retrain the people of Israel’s presuppositions AND values, because over 400 years they had been taught, through forced slavery that their identity was that of ‘nothing’.

They didn’t get to choose what they did. They didn’t get to choose when they rested. These decisions were all made for them. So with the 10 commandments God both rehung the pinboard, repainted the wall and formed them into an ethnic group “culture” that he could impart wisdom and power onto the world through. But, their conscience and worldview were tampered with constantly by outside forces or internal descent-ers.

A lot of what God leads the Jews in, is the fomenting of ways to avoid having the wall smashed or the pin board de-pinned. And you watch through history, how the biggest enemies of God attack the wall that we hang the pin board on. Words like “re educate” are thrown around. Which are championed by those lifted on the shoulders of others as liberators of truth. Whilst, in God’s reality, they chain themselves to lies and false truths that have repeatedly destroyed humanity throughout our history.

In the near ancient east it was a sex religion whose height was in offering live babies in sacrifice to a silent god-figure. In the current west it is similar, we don’t know how to value humans so we just get rid of those that we subjectively don’t like. We have re educated ourselves to have no truth outside of our own, as if that liberates us into life and love, as opposed to drowning ourselves in conflict, and more tension between the differing truths that we each hold. As if holding different truths increases justice. (insert sarcastic emoticon)

In Lithuania during the Nazi – > soviet chunk of their history, the communists were genius in their re-education. They took out the educators (priests) they deconstructed the celebrations (state marriage, atheist holidays instead of christmas etc) Teachers were retrained to teach atheist theory and they even attempted to stop parents from teaching their own children anything other than the state ordained truth of humanism and only humanism.  We look at Soviet Russia’s history with East Europe in ghastly shock. How could they kill so many people? How could they force whole nations to ‘believe’ such a destructive ideology. But the west is now in the midst of just that.

Christmas has become a capitalist utopian dream. Marriage has become and will become an atheist ideal based on little commitment or meaning. Its less about the commitment and more about the party. Teachers are not only being stopped from teaching Christian ethic, they are being retrained to teach only evolution, only humanism and as parents are less and less engaged with what their kids are learning, – because they are focused on their “careers” because humanism tells us only man can save man – we have to save ourselves the best we can with constant work. So the parents are taken out too. What the communists knew about retraining their populace, the capitalists have taken on as well.

God save the queen.


Satan knows more about the bible than you.

Do you believe in Love Lifted from: Jeremy … Don’t Eat Trash

Satan was there when the stories happened, when they were written, when the words were lost, when they were found, when we translated them, when we warred over them. The enemy was there when we built empires on its principles and also when we forgot the principles and gave ourselves the credit. And he loves it when we forget, when we don’t read it, when we think we understand it without even knowing it, when we argue about lies and half truths. He loves when we are too busy to read it, when we are bored of reading it and when we convince ourselves it was written directly to us in the 2000’s.

Its a little worrying huh? That Christians don’t really read our bibles. And if we do, we don’t exactly know what we are reading. And when pastors teach us what is actually going on we are playing angry birds on our phones, or not even going to church and reading atheist diatribes on the internet disproving the faith that we weakly hold to, then we point at the church and accuse them of not doing their jobs.

The bible, if you read it like it was written to be read, changes lives. It reconstructs our thought patterns, it unleashes freedom, it solidifies the truth of Gods character, it builds strong foundations for marriages, families, communities, societies, cultures. It has the capacity to cut out crap in our lives, to invent better technologies and to do business and government for the people.

The bible isn’t God. We believe Christ not because the bible exists. We believe in Christ because God (Emmanuel – God with us) walked amongst us. He healed the sick and fed the hungry, he inspired life in all others and then went to the cross unfairly to take the sin of the world on his God-man shoulders. But do we know the back story to his triumphant victory? Do we understand what is actually happening when he vocally attacks the spiritual elite of the day? Do we understand the Jewish concept of evil and the need of Christ to come destroy it all?

Have we actually read it, and let it flood our lives with exciting goodness?

Because if our battle isn’t over, we are going to need sharper swords to rescue the hopeless and raze the enemies fortresses.

Get sharpening. Get life.


God hasn’t spoken until you respond.

918Originally posted: July 7, 2014 – Don’t Eat Trash – Jeremy

As God spoke in the beginning, the earth was created.

God would send prophets to point the Israelites back to the covenant and they would respond, in sack cloth and ashes or murdering the prophet. both are responses.

Recently I dialogued with God some interesting ideas about time. How i see my 28 years as long, and older than i would like, how part of me can’t be the things he has called me too because of my age, and God began to download how that was crap and I needed to look eternally. Eternity versus 28 years…. Gods miraculous power that raised christ from the dead versus my twisted ankle and occasional heartburn thanks to raw onion – it gets ridiculous. This isn’t about me and my apparent limitations. This life is about God and his birdseye view sovereignty.

God speaks, and we can ignore or listen and stay silent. Or we can hear and respond.

Many times I have been journalling at 5am and get some sweet stuff from God, but if those things stay in my journal in ink… they lack power, life changing power. The ink needs to change to blood, and be walked out.

God hasn’t spoken until you respond.

In one way – we can report God speaking to show our spiritual holiness. ‘God told me this morning that I am going to be the queen of England’ but if we don’t believe it, if we don’t put steps in to become the queen England, then those words are close to meaningless.

In another way, we can believe that God doesn’t speak. And if God doesn’t speak then we ignore every attempt God makes to speak to us.

Communication is spoken often of not only:

information transmitted,

but of:

information transmitted through certain media – understood by the LISTENER and responded to by the LISTENER.

God isn’t cryptic, God knows the listener better than the listener knows itself, but the listener can train itself to not understand the medium used.

We get a good idea, and think its just our own thoughts.

We get a miracle and think its just a coincidence, that it couldn’t be God that got us that thing.

We have dreams and think its just a dream.

We hear a sermon and think the pastor was just a genius.

GOD SPEAKS.

He speaks constantly, he speaks loudly, and if we refuse to listen, then we miss out.


I have no opinion on Halloween.

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Courtesy: Don’t Eat Trash – Jeremy

Hey, how are you?

Happy Halloween apparently. I don’t really know what it is because I grew up in Australia. A country on an island in the middle of the ocean, far far away from most. But, i did just watch Blood Diamond. An amazing film that shows how a civil war was fought by soldiers stealing children and retraining them into soldiers by shocking them with ultra violence. At the end of the movie the father character finds his brain washed son, who points a gun at his Dad.

The father stares into the eyes of this hurting, lost, violently brain washed boy and starts speaking truth into him.

“Dia, What are you doing? Dia! Look at me, look at me. What are you doing? You are Dia Vendy, of the proud Mende tribe. You are a good boy who loves soccer and school. Your mother loves you so much….. I know they made you do bad things, but you are not a bad boy. I am your father who loves you. And you will come home with me and be my son again.”

and it smashed me.

These are the words my father said without saying. I was and am his son. I belong with him. He said this in many ways, but he spoke it so often that even when I was bullied at school, even when i was a confused 19 year old who moved out of home, even when i moved to Sweden – the other side of the world…. before i left he told me he was proud of me and I am his.

I’ve never shot anyone. I’ve never been brain washed like in the movie, but… the truth my parents have always spoken over me has protected me and empowered me in so many different parts of my life.

I don’t write this to brag (much). But more to highlight the power of words and truth spoken. Yesterday I talked with one of my friends about how we sometimes believe lies spoken over us purely because there’s no reply to it.

If we are told we are dumb, and no one is telling us any different… then we must be dumb. If we are told we are ugly or worthless or going no where, we believe them… why wouldn’t we.

But this father in the film, and my father in my life constantly spoke truth. This kid was a good kid. Yes he’d shot people, but his father was calling him home, to belong, to be who he actually is.

To push the picture even further, this interaction is a perfect example of how God is with us. And how God craves to be intimate with us like a father to his child. Proud. Protective. Powerful.

God stares us in the face when we point a gun at his and, he doesn’t grab the gun, he doesn’t push us away like he could. He stays in our aim and starts telling us who we are, giving us room to be with him again, completely and instantly.

Try him out. Aim your gun at God and see what he says about you.

again, completely and instantly.

Try him out. Aim your gun at God and see what he says about you.


When we know better than GOD …

kneel

Sometimes, we in sobriety, think we know better than God, we call this “taking back our will!” I have been guilty of doing this on the odd occasion. But far fewer instances have happened as of late. And sometimes it takes my sponsor to point this out to me when I insinuate that I know better or that I am the center of the universe and that I am indispensable. That is a new one for me. But Jeremy hits the nail on the head with this writing.

Lifted from: Don’t Eat Trash

Jesus is sitting on the mountain crying out to God, he doesn’t really look forward to the cross, he’s not the biggest fan of pain or ridicule or, for that matter, injustice and just imagine that moment of clarity.

‘Actually father, I know a better way than you do. I’m just going to fly over to the Americas and chill out with the natives… and then make a new religion.. that’s better right?’

A ridiculous thought, but one that we replicate very often in our own lives. We live for God, we worship him, we serve him with our lives, but when that moment of needing to say yes to something we don’t really want to comes, we conveniently hear something else.

The classic one in my life is street evangelism. I’m not the most shy of people, but there have been moments in street evangelism when I hear quite clearly from God a thought, an idea, a person, a moment.

And i make excuse after excuse.

And in my mind they are very legitimate excuses. In those moments it makes sense for me not to do what I’ve been told, to come up with ‘better’ ideas than God. But it all boils down to, arrogant disobedience.

Another good one is big life decisions. When Abraham got called out of his home town, into a lot of new things, a lot of unknowns, he does so. But very easily when we are called away from our comfortable lives, or into lives we’ve even hoped for but don’t feel we deserve, we look up at God as if to say

‘Nope, I got this buddy, I know better, I’m going to get that full time job, get into debt, marry the wrong people, get distracted from the ministries you’ve called me into and then live a slightly dissatisfied life.’

This isn’t to say that God can’t use us in that life. This is also not to say necessarily that God only has one perfect will for you. (or does he?) This is about those moments when we – humans, saved, created, unimmortals – tell GOD – saviour, creator, immortal – that WE know better. That WE somehow know more than him, can see more than him…

Like a baby looking up at its parent at 2 months old and speaking perfect English to say

‘I got this Dad, I’ll change my own nappy’

Its ridiculous.

You know what is not ridiculous?? – Doing what God wants. Listening to him. Understanding and trusting his love.

The old testament is filled with moments of God speaking, the Israelites not listening and the consequences of said militant deafness being not great.

What do you know, that God does not?


God, I just pooped myself. A little help.

kneelLifted from: Don’t Eat Trash

There was a time in my life that I used to get up at 5:45, skate through the freezing cold of Richardson, start work at 6am, work till 12Pm, return home to eat dim sims, play a computer game for most of the day, hang out with my house mates and then continue to play a computer game whilst slowly getting drunker and drunker until i blacked out. REPEAT.

I had reasons for it all. I had been through a large patch of insomnia, and alcohol was a stupid way to attempt to beat that, whilst absent-mindedly destroying myself. I was flooded with disappointment and bitterness that meant, my natural disposition towards community was being avoided at all costs. And i worked a job that was understaffed and played on my sense of camaraderie and loyalty to work double shifts all the time.

It was not an enjoyable experience. In hindsight i almost wasted 3 years of my life doing nothing. (there were many redeeming features though, in among the haze of my failing bitter hedonism.)

I was convinced that immersing myself in a fake world and getting at least some “sleep” was pass-able.

At no stage do i wish i was back there. Other then maybe do it differently. The whole time there was a voice in the back of my head of how i was to get myself out of the repeating cycle. I played in bands that i enjoyed, i met with an array of different church groups, i had accountability groups, i let random people stay at our house, i did other christian things, attempting to somehow make shape of my life enough to pull myself up.

But that was the problem. Me.

Yesterday i heard this incredible analogy. Of a baby pooping itself and trying to clean the poop up itself. The Dad walks into the room, expecting to have to clean some poop up and there’s the baby, sitting in a huge pile of it, and the baby is like…. ‘…oh…. didn’t see you come in…. I’m just…. cleaning up some poop. Don’t worry about it, i got this Dad. I’ll be finished cleaning this as soon as i can figure out how use my legs… So you just go and hang out with Mum”

Babies can’t clean up their own poop. It’s physically, mentally and behaviorally impossible. But as adults, as children of God, we try to do similar. Taking my story as an example I once woke up in my bed, wearing clothes i don’t remember changing into the night before. It was the first time i had blacked out and not remembered a portion of my life. It freaked me out. It was one of those “This will never happen again” Moments, where you swear to yourself that you will make that not repeat itself.

So instead of putting my arms up in the air and screaming “FATHER GOD, I pooped myself and i need you to clean me up” I close the door between me and him, and begin attempting to clean myself up. I try and stand up to get some type of cloth and instead of my legs working, my baby legs collapse and i go head first back into my poop. And of course – a few weeks later, i black out again, and once again i forget a part of my life. It freaks me out less… Because i’ve had my face in a big pile of poop recently, when i tried to clean it up myself.

But as soon as we understand our relationship with the father, we spend a lot less time with our face in our own poop.

Let God clean your poop. Hug him a lot. and make smiley baby faces at him. Its kind of our job.


God hasn’t spoken until you respond.

Do you believe in Love Lifted from: Don’t Eat Trash

As God spoke in the beginning, the earth was created.

God would send prophets to point the Israelites back to the covenant and they would respond, in sack cloth and ashes or murdering the prophet. both are responses.

Recently I dialogued with God some interesting ideas about time. How i see my 28 years as long, and older than i would like, how part of me can’t be the things he has called me too because of my age, and God began to download how that was crap and I needed to look eternally. Eternity versus 28 years…. Gods miraculous power that raised Christ from the dead versus my twisted ankle and occasional heartburn thanks to raw onion – it gets ridiculous. This isn’t about me and my apparent limitations. This life is about God and his birds eye view sovereignty.

God speaks, and we can ignore or listen and stay silent. Or we can hear and respond.

Many times I have been journalling at 5am and get some sweet stuff from God, but if those things stay in my journal in ink… they lack power, life changing power. The ink needs to change to blood, and be walked out.

God hasn’t spoken until you respond.

In one way – we can report God speaking to show our spiritual holiness. ‘God told me this morning that I am going to be the queen of England’ but if we don’t believe it, if we don’t put steps in to become the queen England, then those words are close to meaningless.

In another way, we can believe that God doesn’t speak. And if God doesn’t speak then we ignore every attempt God makes to speak to us.

Communication is spoken often of not only:

information transmitted,

but of:

information transmitted through certain media – understood by the LISTENER and responded to by the LISTENER.

God isn’t cryptic, God knows the listener better than the listener knows itself, but the listener can train itself to not understand the medium used.

We get a good idea, and think its just our own thoughts.

We get a miracle and think its just a coincidence, that it couldn’t be God that got us that thing.

We have dreams and think its just a dream.

We hear a sermon and think the pastor was just a genius.

GOD SPEAKS.

He speaks constantly, he speaks loudly, and if we refuse to listen, then we miss out.