Categories
Art Daily Walk Wisdom

‘Balance’

Photo by Christophe Hautier on Unsplash

There is no such thing as ‘balance’ in the Kingdom of God, because God, ultimately, is not ‘balanced’: he is all things at all times.

That sentence may seem, at first, to be highly objectionable, or perhaps a bit oblique, so let’s break it down and examine all the pieces.

What is ‘balance’?

Balance happens when, as on a physical scale, there are equal quantities of one thing or concept on either side. (That is how we perceive balance.)

Balance is a very human concept. Of course, this is a very good thing, because balance helps maintain order, and without order, there is unrestrained chaos. The only problem is, true balance is unsustainable.

Why?

Because God is very interested in keeping the Body of Christ (and ultimately human society in general) pointed in the right direction!

Too much balance leads to stagnation.

What breeds in stagnant pools?*

—-

Balance seems fair to us.

By ‘fair’, I mean, balance is how, basically, you know you’re not being cheated.

Take the visual image of an ancient market, or a modern-day exotic Eastern market, for example.

When you buy something in a market, say spices, for example, the merchant takes a weight, puts it on one side of the scale, and then puts a certain quantity of the spice on the other side.

This is how the purchaser knows that the price the merchant is charging, is a fair price.

God is not necessarily ‘fair’, according to human reckoning, all of the time.

—-

Balance is beautiful to us.

Take gymnasts, for example. They can do flips, and tumble, and spin, and fly through the air, doing amazing things, because they have an incredibly-well-developed sense of balance.

Balance is also important in the art world. A well-balanced painting is pleasing to the eye. (Look up ‘artistic balance’ on Google for some nice images and technical explanations of this.)

Pottery-making is another good example of balance being important for beauty. An aesthetically-pleasing, and functional, piece is balanced, in most places, on the left and right.

—-

What happens when something is *imbalanced*?

—-

Lack of balance can be bad.

—-

Lack of balance is dangerous to human life.

Take vertigo, for example. One of the most important concerns in nursing homes and hospitals is fall risk.

Senior citizens are especially susceptible to falling. Why? Their sense of balance is off, due to a problem in the vestibular system found inside the inner ear. This system is responsible for the lack of balance. Senior citizens can fall and injure themselves, or, worse, die, because they cannot balance themselves properly.

—-

Lack of balance can cause untold-of death and destruction, on an immense scale.

When the world political system is not well-balanced, war happens.

What happened in World War II? The balance of power was dangerously shifted, and one of the worst examples of human tragedy and loss occurred, all over the planet.

When nature is not balanced, hurricanes occur.

Hurricanes happen when temperatures are imbalanced.

—-

Lack of balance can be good, in a sense.

—-

Lack of balance is entertaining:

Take Charlie Chaplin, or just about any famous comedic actor, for example: slapstick humor. “Balance (or the lack thereof) also reveals one of the fundamental elements of all slapstick. Slapstick is one off-balance disaster after another.” – (quote from ‘Discovering the Clown, or The Funny Book of Good Acting’, by Christopher Bayes

—-

Lack of balance is also beautiful.

Revisiting pottery for a moment, a fundamentally interesting piece of pottery includes elements that lack balance.

In speaking of the beauty of an 18th-century moon jar (a piece of Korean pottery), Lee Ufan, a famous minimalist painter and sculptor artist, said this:

“The imbalanced imperfection
is what allows you to see things in
an unlimited and real-life way.”

(Lee Ufan, as quoted in the book ‘The Artist Project: What Artists See When They Look At Art’, by Christopher Noey and Thomas P. Campbell)

—-

Lack of balance, ultimately, makes us happy.

The key to bliss is a life that is *profoundly* imbalanced.

All terror, all fear, all joy, and all happiness ultimately emanates from the throne of God.

*Note that I said ‘stagnant’ here, not ‘placid’ or ‘still’. Search: “still waters scripture” for more details.

Categories
Writing

Being A Voice, Not An Echo

‘Be a voice, not an echo.’

Those words–the source is now lost to my memory–stuck in my head, fast, soon after I heard them, and have remained there, to this day.

Core principles are a trick, and a treat.

If you aim to be wise–and few aim that high–you will develop, and discard, many core principles over the years.

Innovators never stop looking for ‘what works well’.


‘Innovation, for innovation’s sake’, is a surefire path to ruin.

This deserve some explaining.

When you take a good principle from anywhere, and attempt to turn it on its head, you lose a great portion of what made that principle great.

Companies try this all the time. And it will appear to work…for a while.

In the West, companies frequently attempt ‘Money First’ principles.

(This is always the nature of the beast, in countries that value possessions, and currency, over humans.)

In an effort to save money, they shed ‘the human element’.

Money is almost always a problem, so why not save the most money possible?

So, in order to save money, they lay off employees.

What happens next?

Many companies outsource to poorer, rising countries.

I have been part of several companies that attempted, for example, outsourcing their help desk staff from First World to Third World nations.

That has almost never worked out well.

It may appear to work out well, at first.

The bottom line will look fantastic. At first.

Over time, though, the flaws in such an approach will become evident.

This is because these companies violated Wisdom.

And Wisdom will never be outmatched, or outclassed.


What is Wisdom? (note the capital ‘W’)

People say that wisdom is many things. (note the lowercase ‘w’).

The adept among you will notice that I said ‘note’ twice, at the end of both sentences above.

This is because, at the end of each sentence, I lost a portion of my audience for this article.

This is fine.

Using capital letters to denote Timeless Principles–note how that ‘feels’ to you inside when I write it with lowercase letters: ‘timeless principles’–is an overused literary trick.

I have used it, alas, many times.

Where did this idea come from?

It does not matter. Every culture, every language, eventually stagnates.


‘Be a voice, not an echo.’

I always try to embody this principle.

Another principle I value is brevity.

*thanks for reading. There is no $500. I am sorry.**

Categories
Theology Writing

Parody

‘The Good Place’ and ‘Good Omens’ are two excellent shows I have streamed in recent years that I very much enjoyed.

Your mileage may vary, but I found them both enjoyable because they are excellent examples of parody. (Please don’t tell me how ‘The Good Place’ ended, I’m still on Season 1.)

Parody is a vital tool God frequently employs to show humanity: “This is not who I am.”

Any time a concept is made fun of, it means that the original concept is so dear to humans, and so vital, that someone took the time to say, ‘See, this is important to them, but they don’t really understand it, and I think I do. So what I will do, is take an aspect of that thing, blow it up to extremes, and poke fun of my creation!’ Voilá! Parody. Chuckles all around.

Unfortunately, what may be intended as parody is often a poor reflection of the original, and later on, it is sometimes mistaken for the real thing.

If we read or watch the parody during a particularly notable time of our life, whether good or bad, the parody can morally or philosophically derail us.

Over the space of a good hour, while I was taking the time to research this article, I eventually realized that a bad parody of an original work that was considered a masterpiece for its time, had derailed an aspect of my theology for around fifteen solid years

Parody is powerful stuff.

Use it sparingly, and you can do great things with it.

But do, please, use it sparingly.

Categories
Uncategorized

‘Life in Eden’ Reader Survey

Survey (for my research for future books):

(Please respond to stephen@stephentshores.com)

If I were to compile a Third Edition of ‘Life in Eden’, my latest book (currently available on Amazon), how much would be reasonable to charge, and what distribution channel would you purchase it from?

Cost to you, the customer:

$5 DRM-free PDF (available online only) / $10 paperback / $20 hardbound.

(I have to charge more for the offline editions, because it costs me money out of my own pocket to get them printed.)

Do the above costs sound reasonable?

Would you buy, today, at the prices above?

What payment method would you prefer to use (PayPal/CashApp/Venmo/other?)

If I provided a way to buy them offline, such as mail order, would you take advantage of that?

Categories
Life

A Wizard Looks at Forty-Two

I figure there’s no shame in riffing off Jimmy Buffett.

Today the magical number came up:

Forty-two.

The answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything, according to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Only this time, it came up on my birthday.

I am 42 years old today.

The question people ask, as a joke, is: ‘So, do you feel 42?’

Well, yes and no.

Yes, in that there are a few more aches and pains in my frame I don’t remember having twenty years ago. Gotta take better care of the bod. I’m working on that.

No, in that…well, all things have become new.

You see, this May, I had another spiritual awakening.

I’ve had several before. I had ‘churchy’ titles for them back then, but they aren’t important now:

12 years old: ‘Reaching for God.’ I started asking questions about God that people around me couldn’t answer to my satisfaction. (Surprise! Some things never change.)

Result: successfully influenced my parents to join a local Baptist church, ‘sinner’s prayer’, ‘Born Again Experience’, immersed in water, and my adventures with and against God and American Christianity began.

1996-2000: ‘There Must Be More’: After decades of churchianity, I knew that what I was being fed from those around me, wasn’t enough. (‘Some things never change’, again.)

Result: God himself led me out of the Baptist church, much against my mother’s wishes, and into the wilds of Charismania. I’ll tell you the story sometime, it’s pretty wild.

2010-2012: “Mysticism and Madness”: Awoke to grace. Fixed my theology, broke my brain. (Some…yeah, you get the point.)

Result: Awoke to grace through a Graham Cooke message, in the midst of a church revival. Met Matt Ford, came into contact with the teachings of John Crowder, Benjamin Dunn, and Matt Spinks. Wanted to move the family to Fort Wayne to live with the mystics there, didn’t happen. Not long thereafter, through a series of unpleasant events, went clinically insane and had to be hospitalized for a month, after which I cut off all contact with this mystical stream, cut off all ideas of ‘experiencing God’, and immersed myself deeply in World of Warcraft for five years.

2017: “Are You Still There?”: God gently poked the clamshell I was hiding myself in deep underneath the surface of the ocean, and said, ‘hey, buddy, I’m still here.’

Result: Read Brother Lawrence again, re-opened my heart to the presence of God and the entire Charismatic/mystical experience again. Started getting ‘drunk in the Holy Spirit’ again, made many new friends, went on some adventures, got in a lot of trouble.

2020: “The Year Things Started Working”: You are here.

‘Here’ is a profound encounter with God in the month of May, that I’m still trying to put words to.

‘Perma-whacked’ is one word for it, but it’s not my word.

I used ‘the breaking of my alabaster box’ in the book, that might be closer, but those are also not my words.

Spirit gave me a word for what happened to me, but I don’t know if you’re ready to hear it yet: a contraction that means one thing to the world, another thing to me entirely.

Read my book, and if you still want to know the word, let me know.

Peace.

Categories
Life

Opinions

Opinions are fleeting little things, like mayflies.

Mayflies do one thing well: they reproduce.

They are then eaten by others.

(Kind of like Opinions.)

Truth is like the fisherman on the shore, who just caught the fish that ate all the mayflies.

He will take home his catch, to help feed his family, and get on to the other real work of life.

Categories
Purity

Longing for Purity

Image of feathers
Photo by Nico Frey on Unsplash

The concept of ‘purity’ is on my mind today.

The word probably brings up memories of ‘promise rings’ and Evangelicals forcing their kids to make vows to not have premarital sex.

But it’s more than that.


1 John 3:2-3: Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (ESV)

How do we ‘purify ourselves’, as this scripture commands?

Certainly, anyone who has had a lick of Finished Works teaching knows that you are clean already. Your old nature was crucified with Jesus, and died with him, over 2,000 years ago.

But what do we do with that?

I’ll come back to that in a minute.


Another verse comes to mind, Ephesians 4:29:

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (NIV)

In recent weeks, I’ve been called out several times for using curse words.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with such words; really, they are what you make of them. It’s just speech. It’s the way the world talks.

Today, though, I’ve been thinking…ehh, maybe I should clean up my act a little.


For one, there’s no need for offensive words. The Truth is offensive enough.

I made a point the other day that both Jesus and Paul ‘cursed’…but Paul apologized for his outburst directed toward the High Priest (Acts 23:5).

It’s true that while under the Anointing, sometimes offensive words may slip out. Most preachers I respect, though, are able to catch themselves before uttering curse words or saying harmful things.

1 Corinthians 14:32: “The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.”

I could be using this verse incorrectly, but to me it says: anyone who is prophesying (or, by extension, preaching) does have at least some control over what comes out of their mouth.

We get to decide what we say…for the most part.


Note that I am still not saying that you have to be ‘nice’.

When under an intense Anointing, I have noticed that it’s like being Superman/Superwoman. You can say basically whatever you want, and often do.

I said something not-very-nice to a family member the other day. It just came out of my mouth without thinking. “Out of the heart, the mouth speaks.)

It wasn’t horrible (I didn’t cuss at her or call her names or anything), but this family member was basically trying to tell us how to raise our kids, a problem which has been going on for a very long time. I had always been hesitant about stepping in, before.

She was quite upset at what I said at the time, but I prayed about it afterwards, and felt led to leave it be, because sometimes boundaries do need to be set.

I was thinking of apologizing anyway, but an insincere apology is worse than no apology at all. The boundary was established, she backed off, and hopefully there will be no more problems in the future.


I mentioned sexual purity straight out of the gate.

The funny thing about sexual purity is that we (as Gentiles) are not under the Law.

This basically means, like it or not, that we can do whatever we want.

…to an extent.

1 Corinthians 6:20: “You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (NIV)

Just because we can do something with our bodies, doesn’t mean that we should.

We have the capability of doing plenty of things, unchecked.

“You are gods,” Jesus said, and never repented of that phrase.

In other words, you steer your own ship.

You determine your own destiny.


We can say, ‘but I can’t help myself!’, and, for a while, that may seem true.

Men, especially, become easily addicted to pornography, for example, and that’s a tough habit to break.

It’s easy to give in, when instant gratification is just a click away…

…unless something gives you pause.

Really, deep down inside, you don’t want to do things that are harmful to yourself, or others.

It’s not in your true nature.

But our brains don’t always change, right away, the moment we See Christ (whether it’s through direct revelation, a ‘sinner’s prayer’, or whatever, doesn’t matter–you once were blind, but now you See.)

They don’t always change, immediately, even when we discover the Finished Works.


“I’m free!” you shout.

And you are!

You don’t have to sin any more!

So why do we still sin?

Part of it may be, the fact that we are still making excuses for ourselves: “I know this is wrong, but I just can’t help myself.”

(Unfortunately, that doesn’t really fly, in light of the Cross: being co-crucified, co-buried, and co-raised, and filled with the power of Holy Spirit.)

Part of it may be that we just don’t understand how powerful we are–the latent power of God, within us, to say ‘no’ to unrighteous behavior, and ‘yes’ to godly behavior.

Part of it may just be bad habits. Habits can be hard to break. (I know this for a fact, I am trying to avoid eating out of habit, just because it’s ‘mealtime’, or because I’m bored.)


So what’s the solution for sexual purity?

One thing, especially for men: learn to kick the porn habit. It’s addictive, and you get used to easy gratification.

Real women require love, affection, and nurture. Fake, onscreen women are just objects, designed to give your brain that temporary ‘fix’ it craves.

But, in the end, what happens? Even though you know you’re not under the Law, and you can do whatever you want–it still just feels wrong, bottom line.

That little voice that says, something is wrong here, will still continue to bother you.


So what do you do with that voice?

A lot of people pull a Prodigal Son, and just go the extreme opposite direction: “I know I’m hearing not to, so I’m going to do the opposite! I can do whatever I want, so I will, and I’m going to teach others to do the same!”

Some will turn it into condemnation: “I feel bad, therefore I AM bad.” (No, you’re not bad. You’re perfect. You just picked up a habit somewhere. It’s OK, we’ll get through this together. I promise.)

But some will listen, and say, “look, Spirit, I screwed up. I know I can do better. Help me.”

…and these weak ones will get the strength they need to overcome their struggles.


Really, it’s a matter of humility. The Bible says ‘cut it out’, your spiritual leaders say ‘no’, and some of your friends say, ‘hey, man, you shouldn’t be doing that.’

(When this happens, it’s because the inner Voice of Holy Spirit is saying the same thing, only some of us have too much noise in our head to hear Spirit, so Spirit has to resort to speaking through others.)

All it takes is agreement: ‘yes, I know.’

God can do much good with our simple agreement.


So, yeah, in the end, we control our own destinies.

Will I cuss in the future? Well…I wouldn’t be surprised if a choice word or two came out, here and there.

I am realizing, at this point, that a lot of the cursing was not caused by my being angry at people, but rather, the anger I felt was at the religious bondage I’d been in.

(It’s normal to be angry for a while, when you’ve been in religious jail.)

Now that things have settled down a bit, though, I realized that, while it feels good to say whatever you want, it’s probably not, ultimately, the best habit in the world.

So from now on, I’ll try to offend with the Truth only–because, like I said earlier, the Truth is offensive enough.

Peace.

Categories
Christianity

My Wish List for Gospel Preachers

Making a list
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Things I wish pastors would preach:

  • The pure, unfiltered Pauline revelation of grace, with no additives
  • Genuinely funny stuff (learn how to do ‘funny’ properly from proper comedians)
  • Both fire and wine (I wrote something about that recently)

Things I wish pastors would NOT preach about:

  • Sex (leave it to the experts, you sound like a dork, and don’t call your wife ‘hot’ in public, she’s not a prostitute)
  • Psychology (unless you’re a trained psychologist)
  • Quantum Physics (reading Facebook does not make you a scientist, and basing your theology on science–human observations and theories on the universe–is syncretism. Letting science inspire you on your ideas of God is, of course, highly recommended.)
  • Money (God is your provider, just mention your needs once per service/podcast/video and then shut up)
  • Apocryphal stories from other preachers (these are the verbal equivalent of those chain emails your grandma still forwards you)
Categories
Christianity Church Liturgy Music Sons of God Tradition

How To Do It Better

Man changing a tire
Photo by Jairph on Unsplash

Humor is a very useful troubleshooting tool for the Body of Christ.

Any time you take your car to the mechanic’s shop, or take your computer to Geek Squad, the technicians will use hardware or software troubleshooting tools to determine the issue and find out how to fix it.

Humor is one of those tools that the Church has at its disposal, of which it is largely unaware.

Humor is vital for provoking change in society. Any time humanity determines, ‘this needs to change!’, out come the comedians.

This is on purpose.

“You mean God deliberately lets people make fun of the Church? Why would he do that?”

To point out what needs fixing, that the Church is blind to, because it is largely ignorant of the larger culture outside.

(Bill Maher is especially good at poking fun at the Church. There are others, but his name immediately comes to mind.)

Any time you see people outside the Church, poke fun at the Church, in a new and particularly painful way, after saying ‘ouch!’, here is the next thing to do:

Look very carefully at what they are making fun of.


Are they making fun of a particular belief?

It’s time to take a look at that belief. Take it apart, very carefully.

Analyze each piece.

Take it down to its roots.

If you run into a dead-end with the book you’re using, find better books.

Ask your friends.

Keep looking, until you have determined the problem.

Perhaps what you’re believing is wrong?

At this point, you can either cover it up, pretending you didn’t see that, or you can choose to change what you believe, and find out ways of telling others.

(Watch the Netflix movie ‘Come Sunday’ for an intriguing and, at times, heart-breaking, example of a famous Evangelical Charismatic preacher deconstructing his belief in hell in public. [It could be argued that Carlton Pearson went off the rails later, but that is an argument for another time.])


Perhaps what you are believing is right.

You’ve done the honest thing: consulting with other people outside your social circle, asked the scholars, and looked into the original languages, and determined, to the best of your ability, that what they are making fun of, is Truth.

Then why are they making fun of it?

Could it be, that you are saying it in a way that they do not understand?

Maybe you need to find (or create) a clearer Bible translation?

Or perhaps you need to find better ways of explaining the Truth?

If someone is making fun of you for preaching Truth, then that is on them.

But if you are preaching what is not Truth, then that, my friend, is on you.


Are they making fun of particular practices?

Liturgy?

Music?

Perhaps those need to be changed, or updated.

Or, perhaps they need to be improved. Make it more beautiful than it was before. Touch up the paint a little. Tune up the instruments. Make excellence a priority.

If it’s a valuable practice, then learn to explain to the younger generations why it’s valuable. Otherwise, they will not appreciate it, and will not carry it on.

Recognize that this practice may not be valuable to everyone (that is where humility comes in), but explain why it is valuable to you, in leading you to a closer experience with God.

Sometimes these old traditions, need to be retired, or carefully stored away: the concepts in books, or the artifacts in attics, for future generations to rediscover.

If there is no one around to maintain the traditions, then, sadly, that is sometimes all that can be done.

If the tradition had value, do your best to preserve it, and trust that it will be rediscovered someday. You may not live to see it, but nothing that is valuable to God is lost forever.

The tears you are crying, right now, at the destruction of what was lost, will never be forgotten.


Music is worth mentioning again, here, as it is a passion of mine.

The Church has become very good at adapting itself to trends outside.

If an outside musician comes up with a particularly good guitar solo, you can bet that, in a contemporary church somewhere near you, there is a guitarist who is just aching to try that same solo next Sunday.

This can be good, and it can be bad.

On the one hand, it keeps the kids coming to church.

(They’ll ultimately leave, if your theology is garbage, or prove to be a bunch of hypocrites and sourpusses. But they’ll stay, for a while, if you have free food, loud music, and you’re willing to make an attempt to speak their language.)

On the other hand: worship music.

Guys.

Really.

YOU DON’T ALL HAVE TO COPY EACH OTHER.

Figure out new things.

Push the edge.

The Church is supposed to lead the world. (I suspect we always do so, in all things, for better or for worse, but I will come back to that another time.)

WE are supposed to be the ones with the cutting-edge music.

Maybe stop listening to other people’s music altogether, for a solid month, and do nothing but work with your band or collaborators.

Switch genres. If you’re a rock ‘n roller, listen to nothing but classical, or jazz, for a solid month.

(*Not ‘smooth jazz’, that Muzak is poison.)

If the scene in your town isn’t doing anything for you any more, maybe you could move somewhere else.

Switch cities.

Switch countries.

The point is: mix it up.

Take a break from your usual routine.

Then come back, and see if what you have in your notebooks and scribbled on napkins, is worth developing.

If not, still, always save it for later. I recommend saving everything you can. Maybe you’ll see some value in it down the road, and it will be the next hit song in ten years’ time.

Or, if you become famous, you can get that napkin auctioned off for millions of dollars and have some good retirement income, or donate the money to a favorite charity.

The point is: push your creativity to the limits.

Don’t do drugs, those will just kill you early and make you hurt yourself and others.

The Church has discovered better drugs: it’s called being ‘high on God’, or the Anointing. It will get you, and keep you, high as a kite, healthy and whole, for decades to come.

Get some sleep. Research proper nutrition. Your body as as much of an instrument as that sweet Fender or the latest hotness from Zildjian.

Take care of yourself, and you’ll feel better.

The better you feel, the better music you’ll make.

Guaranteed.


When people are making fun of the Church, it’s because there is something valuable there.

Find out what is valuable, and either improve it, or purify it.

If it can be improved, punch it up, without making it into a parody of itself.

(Or make a parody. But make it funnier than what the world is doing. The Church BADLY needs instruction in how to do humor correctly. The Steve Martin MasterClass comes to mind. I haven’t taken it yet, but I might.)

Maybe it needs to be purified. Most doctrine taught in the Church is not Pauline in nature. Listen to what John Crowder and Matt Spinks are saying. Hell, you’re already listening to what I’m saying, and I’m trying to outclass and outperform all of my friends.

(Competition is great. That’s just the way I’m wired: I want to know everything, I want to say it better than everyone, and I want to do it yesterday.)

We badly need to learn Greek, and Hebrew, and take this thing back down to its roots.

We need to learn ancient cultures.

We need to dive deeper than we ever have before.

(Somebody’s going to crack time travel, so we can answer the questions that books can’t. It might as well be a son of God.)

The point is: do better.

And if you can’t do better, find out who can.

I will help you, if I can, and I have a number of big-hearted friends who can do much better than I can.

Excellence is what everyone is looking for, everyone in the entire world.

They are looking for an uncompromising people, who will do everything better.

We are that people.

We are the sons of God.

Categories
Scripture The Pauline Lens

Starting With Paul

To understand the Bible, we have to begin in a very peculiar place:

Paul.

Then Jesus and the other apostles.

Then everyone else.

It’s a very strange state of affairs. If God was going to send someone to speak his mind, why not send his Messiah?

But God sent his Messiah, who said many strange things that next to nobody understands to this day. (Capon’s take on the Parables is very useful, BTW.)

So what does God do?

God sends a human to explain the Messiah.

And he profoundly breaks that human, and remakes that human as he chooses, and he uses that human to explain why the Messiah came, what he was doing before his earthly ministry, and what he is doing to this day.

Thus we have the writings of Paul.

Paul explained Jesus to all the other apostles.

(Peter quips, one time, that Paul’s writings ‘had many things difficult to understand.’ You said it, Pete!)

People handle the Bible however they want. They say, ‘start at Genesis!’ and make their arguments.

Others say, ‘start with Jesus!’ and make theirs.

Both perspectives can produce interesting perspectives, and sometimes bear fruit.

But the only perspective that will bring lasting change, and produce good fruit from now to eternity, is to read Scriptures through a Pauline lens, and ask Spirit to assist from there.

People argue as they may. It doesn’t bother me too much.

Blind guides lead the blind, and they will all fall into ditches.

I hate to see bad ideas preached. Bad ideas hurt people.

But what can you do?

In the end, we must all learn to seek Truth for ourselves, or perish.

(Living an ineffective life is like being dead on your feet.)