Modern Day Prophecies

I tend to believe that usually prophecies are generally more personal in scope, intended for the individual and the current moment. And that those with the gift of prophecy are rare – or at least those who exercise it properly are. And I’m exceptionally skeptical of most prophets I ever see on TV or the internet – or at least skeptical of how people interpret their prophecies.

Some of the more politically enthusiastic Christians I know pointed me towards videos of Kim Clement. And his prophecies were spot on about world events – and not all of them have yet come to pass. We’re in the middle of them. Although I do think that many who have viewed these prophecies are making the mistake of thinking that just because God is moving pieces on the board that those pieces are purely holy and righteous. Look to the old testament – God used the Babylonians, Egyptians, and all of the other nations whom he described as despicable.

Random Thought About Bearing Arms In Luke 22…

When Jesus is talking to his disciples at the last sword and he tells them to prepare themselves by buying swords and such…one could interpret that as what they did when they then have two swords. But I think instead it’s telling us a little bit about society back in the day: a reasonable number of people went armed for self-defense, such that several of the disciples already had swords. This would line up with a lot of what the rest of history has looked like with respect to people defending themselves.

A further interesting and amusing question about this chapter in Luke is regarding when the swords get used a bit further, and Jesus then heals the ear that was cut off…did they just leave an ear on the ground for someone to discover the next day?

The Things Of This World Are Less Real Than The Next

I’ve talked a bit about cosmology and simulation theory, and this has some interesting ramifications for how we think about our current world: everything in this world is LESS real than the next. The purpose of this world is, in some ways, to be training wheels for the next – and God loves to teach by analogy, metaphor, simile, and the like. There’s a lot to think about here, but a few of the things that I think about most in this direction:

  • God loves the physical-ness of this world, and called it good. Heaven will not be some ethereal ghostly environment, but real, substantial, and physical.
  • Most of our desires in this world, even the more carnal ones, are reflections on some aspect of what we’re truly desiring in the world beyond. God has built those into us for many reasons, but one of those is to whet our appetite for what’s to come.

John Wesley’s 250 Year Old Advice On How Christians Should Vote:

“October 6, 1774
I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them

  1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy
  2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
  3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”

― John Wesley, The Journal of John Wesley

On number 2: realize we’re all sinners. You’re voting for a sinner, and you’re voting against a sinner. And on number 3: we’re all made in the image of God. Don’t let politics put up a wall against connecting with other people.

I think it’s legitimate to criticize policies and actions, but one should refrain from attacking the person. And even the criticisms should be done in a Christian manner.

Life Lessons From A Lizard

For the past 10 years we’ve had an Australian water dragon as a pet. He passed away this week, and the resulting sadness has left me with some reflective thoughts about various spiritual topics that I decided to capture here.

  • It’s amazing the personality even a small creature can have. The grief we have of the loss of his individuality must be similar to what God feels when, as Jesus says, God knows every sparrow that falls to the ground. He’s simultaneously feeling the joy and excitement of each of the living creatures in his garden, and the loss when it goes, and that’s part of the beauty of his creation that he’s decided is good. Not that the loss is good, but he’s decided the loss is worth the joy.
  • The main thing our pet meant to us most of the time was a sort of comfortable companionship. He would sit out with us, happy to enjoy our company as we enjoyed his. Neither us nor him wanting or needing extra attention from the other, just contentment with being present with the other. I think there are times when God enjoys the same from us – when we’re comfortable and happy just to be aware of his presence.
  • One of the most exciting and happiest days of all of our time with him was a few years ago. We had always paid attention to his behaviors, and would happily give him some of his favorite treats whenever he seemed to be in the mood, and we’d gotten him comfortable with eating those treats out of our hands. He’d developed a particular behavior involving opening his mouth in a certain way, which we’ve never found mentioned on any reptile forums or anywhere else. This one day, as he was out and I passed him, he opened his mouth in this way and I gave him a treat – and he suddenly realized that, yes, we were watching him and could understand his signals. From that very moment on he was constantly signaling us, about all sorts of things – he would run up to us and ask for a treat, he would ask to be let out of his cage, he would just signal that he was happy, or thankful. Nothing had changed regarding our behavior toward him, but he now understood that we did pay attention to him and could “hear” him. In many ways, I think this is what prayer is like, with us towards God. He’s always there and is paying attention to us, but we don’t often understand that until we see God answer our prayers in the most obvious ways.

Christianity’s Take On The Cosmology Of The Universe

One of the things I’ve been thinking about for a while is the perspective of how Christianity puts the universe together – what’s the grand cosmological view of the universe that Christianity takes? Here’s my attempt at summarizing:

Before the universe existed there was God – and he’s a God with several notable qualities to this view: He’s perfect, and he fully embodies both love and justice. Also, he’s a community of beings. And he desired/desires a people who will fully love him, who can enter into his community. Here’s the catch though: axiomatic to love is free will, and the capability to choose something or someone else. Love without free will is not a thing – that’s like The Stepford Wives. And even more complicated is that, because he is perfect, giving people the choice to choose to love something other than him requires giving them the choice and chance to be less than perfect, and to do less than perfect things, including to each other, which will also require that they face the justice due for their actions.

So this is what God did: he created a universe that could be a neutral, imperfect stage to allow humans the free choice to learn to love him or not. And then, to resolve the issue that humans would not be perfect, he chose for one of the beings in his community to come down and live as one of us, and volunteer for the punishment due to each of us for the wrongs we commit. It not only fills the justice requirement, but it allows him to express his perfect love, and overcomes our inevitable imperfections that separate us from him.

There are several items I like about this lens on Christianity and the universe. For one thing, the attributes of God that are fundamental to this worldview are very different than the attributes that different religions try and claim to God, which sets Christianity as clearly apart from other religions, and puts to rest the argument that “all religions are basically the same”. Also, it clearly calls out and explains one of the main questions people typically struggle with: how could God let evil and natural disasters happen? Perhaps the thing I like the most, however, is the extent to which it informs worldview about individual purpose as well as the shape of society – when God created the universe he specifically wanted so many things (such as marriage or the justice system, for example) within it to serve as metaphors for us to learn to understand the relationship he wanted us to have with him. I find there’s a feedback loop of understanding how these systems should be idealized through the Bible as well as understanding aspects of the Bible through these systems.

Having A Healthy Attitude On Money, And Self-Esteem

Thankfully, I have never been put in a place of financial crisis (although I have been a starving college student), so my attitudes towards money have never stringently been tested. With that being said, I believe I have a fairly healthy attitude towards money.

Both my wife and I are fairly high earners – so we have a nice amount of money – but here’s the thing: it’s not important. It’s transient. To be stewarded, sure, and spent/invested/given away responsibly – but the point is that it comes in at certain rates and we’re to responsibly make sure it goes out in reasonable directions. If we were to lose everything within our net worth, we could earn it back. The true value isn’t how much or little money we have, but the fact that we’re capable of earning money through hard work. That deep knowledge of an underlying intrinsic value makes all the questions normally pondered about money seem flighty and relatively meaningless.

For me personally, this attitude is easiest to explain with the money example above, but I find that it’s applicable to many other fields as well. There are times people have issued insults at me that I could have taken offense at, except for the personal knowledge of some core characteristic of myself makes the accusation irrelevant or a non-sequitur.