The word God is not one to lose: it's one for the muse to use. Poetry depends on the spiritual, living power of words. You can't do poetry, you can't enjoy poetry if you treat words as blank, lifeless, arbitrary mental place-holders for real, discrete things that exist in the world. If you think God is just a noise or an arbitrary set of marks on a page that is supposed to refer to a Guy in the Sky, well - it's no wonder you might go down the atheist road, if there is one.
You look in the sky, there is no Guy, so you drop the word along with that to which it was supposed to refer. But wait: the word God is potent and rich. It doesn't refer to something else. It is something else. It does something else. The word God evokes highest aspirations. It suggests the whole, and what makes me whole. It delivers me into the rich darkness of mystery, the allure of the unknown.
It provokes possibility. It aims beyond what I can explain. The word God invites me beyond what I can imagine. The word God hints at the personality of the universe. It touches me with all-surpassing Love. The word God invokes curiosity, creativity.
My uncertainty about what the word God means spins me into a healthy, humbling disequilibrium. It leaves me giddy. In the Bible, the word God has no clear, unequivocal referent. Is God a nationalistic, jealous deity? The essence of existence? A Godhead or council of supernatural beings? Peter's story is largely a story of "almosts. There are many directions I'd like to go with Peter's story. I think it's awfully sad that the disciple who trusted Jesus enough to recognize him as the Messiah and to trust him to walk on water gets such a bad reputation.
But what I really want to focus on is how I think the whole denial story paints Peter as something he absolutely wasn't - a coward. I want to make a case for Peter's bravery, but even more than that, I want to make the case that the underlying issue with Peter's betrayal was much deeper than momentary fear. While there may have been some fear involved in Peter's denial of Christ, I think it's fairly clear that fear for his own wellbeing was not Peter's primary problem.
So why do most of us think Peter was filled with fear? I think the fear narrative is easy for us to latch on to for a number of reasons, but most of all because if we say Peter's problem was fear, we in the West can subsequently disassociate ourselves from being in Peter's shoes. How often have we felt genuine fear for our lives because of our Christian beliefs?
Almost every one of us would have to say "never. But as I will argue, Peter's reason for denying Christ should make us much more introspective about the ways we are constantly tempted to deny Christ in like manner. So let me make my case now for why I don't think Peter was a coward who feared for his life. There are quite a few characters you can criticize when it comes to the story of Jesus's crucifixion.
The disciples were cowards and ran, with Peter even openly denying Christ numerous times. The religious leaders hounded Jesus and held a kangaroo court to convict him.
A Christian Poets Musings About God, Spirituality, And Stuff
The fickle crowds who were praising Jesus only a week before, now yelled out for his blood. In Luke's account, we even see Satan come into play as he enters Judas and has his hands in the mix. But for as cowardly, evil, or lost as some of these agents were, there is one character we often overlook. I think Pilate gets passed by so often because we can empathize with his position. Whereas the disciples were committed to Jesus and should have been loyal, and whereas the religious leaders were malicious and pursued Christ's blood, Pilate was caught in the middle of something he didn't want to be a part of.
He had no loyalty to Jesus, but neither did he hold any malice. He was as impartial a judge as we could hope for in overseeing Jesus's trial. In fact, as we progress through the story, we see Pilate recognize Christ's innocence and attempt to free him using the various means he had at his disposal. To most, it seems like Pilate is a fairly decent guy who is trying to do the right thing, but ends up having to make a difficult decision in order to do his job by maintaining order.
The issue of purpose couldn't be more important than it is today. As much of the Western World shifts away from religion and towards atheism particularly materialism , they are left with a gaping hole in their lives.
Without moral commands or the divine direction that once guided individuals and nations, many irreligious are left searching for that which can infuse their lives with purpose. Most end up landing on some system of self-purpose because it's easy, convenient, and unobtrusive.
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This system of self-purposing generally means that each individual must figure out or fashion their own purpose in life. Once a purpose is identified, then life can meaningfully be lived. While self-purposing sounds fantastic who wouldn't want to just follow their own desires? Self-purposing is incoherent on their system. It can't be done. It's absolutely unintelligible. To discover why materialism cannot provide purpose - and especially self-purpose - I'll explore deeper the concept of purpose.
A Christian Poet's Musings about God, Spirituality, and Stuff
History has always fascinated me. I often try to place myself in the shoes of those who walked in the past. As a guy, that usually meant I frequented ancient battlefields or heroic situations in my mind. And as a hormonal teenager, it meant that I often placed myself in the shoes of someone like a suave Mark Antony who was able to attract beautiful women like Cleopatra. Those daydreams didn't last too long, however.
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It was easy to travel back in time and imagine historical figures like Cleopatra or Marilyn Monroe who were often depicted beautifully in movies or in pictures. But those images always chose to capture the beauty of these women in the prime of their lives. What killed my daydreams was when one day, I recognized that I was dreaming about a romantic relationship with an 80 and a 2, year old woman - basically a grandma and a mummy. After that realization, I kept my historical fantasies to battlefields and away from romance.
Most Christians, and those who live in "Christian societies" are familiar with the ten commandments. Don't steal, don't murder, don't covet, etcetera. But the ten commandments are just a small representation of the Bible's laws. You may not know that the Old Testament actually contains over laws for the people of God to follow. I n the New Testament, Jesus does us a favor and condenses all of the laws to two: love God and love your neighbor Mt. If we simply do those two things, then we'll never break any of the other commandments.
If we loved others, how could we murder them? If we loved, how could we covet what another has instead of being happy for them? If we loved God, how could we choose to avoid Him by not gathering together with other Christians to worship Him? Love is absolutely central to the Bible and to followers of Christ. In fact, Jesus tells us that it is a Christian's love which will distinguish them as a true follower of God Jn. But Lennon didn't just write music. He was a lyricist who incorporated his philosophy into his music.
On the topic before us today, love, one of Lennon's more popular songs entitled "All You Need Is Love" declared just that.
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