Truth always comes to a head. A point. Like Nathan Jessup couldn't about himself--we can’t handle it. Like not being able to handle snakes. But to live again, you must be able to. And will be able to.
I was the governor of my province. And everything was jacked up. Everything was in turmoil.
All my decisions seemed to make it worse.
Then at the very end. When the foundations were trembling. When it was critical and the heat was on; I got out of the limelight; away from the crowds; into the back room of myself. The judge's chambers—the green room. That place no one else enters. The ego’s lair. Behind the wizard’s curtain. And in that quiet place, guess who was in there? Jesus. It turns out he had been trying, all this time, to save my world; but man, he was bloody and beaten to a pulp—bound with cords. And there was this other voice in that room. One who would do everything to stroke my ego—to keep it safe. One who “cared about Me.” It whispered in my ear, “Get out of here! Now! You do not want to confront this!”
Then. I spoke.
“See! The truth is...the truth is…See, I know what the truth is! It was everybody else that...They deserve…Now look, I know what I’m saying! I’m in control! I didn’t hurt anybody! The reason all this is happening is...What happened was...the truth is...the truth is…the truth…
...What is the truth?”
And as he was dragged out, back into that other place—that front place—where life actually happens--leaving me in silence, Jesus did not speak. Just left this question ricocheting off the walls of that far back room:
“You’re the governor. The top of the rule of law. You control judgment. You sit at the judgment seat. You’re making all these decisions out in the light of day. You decide who lives and dies; and back here...back behind it all...you don’t know what truth is?”
Error:_Danger Will Robinson.
Crack. Crack. Crack. Crack. Crack. Crack.
Does not compute. Does not compute. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Does not compute. Does not compute. Does not compute...
Operating System Malfunction.
Error. Fatal error.
Because an alive 42 year old person should know what the truth is. Right? Uh oh. Oh no. It just might be that I’m not alive. That I don’t even know how to live.
Sick. Paralyzed. Lame. Blind. Dead. Desperate. Cold. Empty.
And then one fine day, like a fish out of water, gasping for my last breath, eyes wide and dilated, moaning, catatonic; floating in the surf; I listlessly bump up against something. And Jesus looks down and says gently, “hey, look who finally washed up at my feet.”
God is saying to the Israelites through the symbol of Moses’s raised serpent, “That feeling of discomfort slithering and squeezing around your midsection is a sign of undealt with truth in your life. All those parts of your world you once felt ok ignoring...denying—have become obstacles—a sign of your unredeemed state—your suffering highlights your need for salvation. They—the undone things—have turned your landscape into a place where you can no longer peacefully ignore; no longer make things irrelevant. This desert of discomfort is not a place of peace. It is a place of broken relationships littering the ground around you—a place of not working on what you are supposed to be doing —of not becoming what you always should have been—of truths avoided; not ‘faced.’ I will not help by ’taking it away,’ I will help you by drawing your eye sharply to where you need to look the most—to the point of truth. If you really want help, it’s time to look here—to face the snake. Here is the hope lying within. I promise you, you can do it. I have created you to be able to handle snakes."
Can you sense the relief that the problem is actually you? For if the world is the problem; then that is hopeless.
I cried twice yesterday. Once in sadness. Once in laughter.
We are pinned to the ground by the serpent who once looked like us. Our achilles spiked through, the nail driven deep in to the earth—forever to the spot where our shadow begins. And yet we also reach; stretch our hands to the stars: we aim , we point—our finger almost touching the Father. This is life. Tethered to a star, tethered to the earth. Will we tear in two?
The firstborns have a name I do not know. It is marked on their thigh, each one has a name. I look at my thigh: on the left it is “Maher Shalal” on the right it is “Hash Baz.”
This is where the sacrifices to the River Gods and Thunder Gods go. They did not disappear, they—the sucklings—are here.
How does it come out? That new person. That changed life. The ampule must be broken, to release the ammonium—to wake up. The glass case must be shattered in case of emergency. You are trapped in a room on fire with the glass case unbroken, the hatchet unused. Why? The paintings on the wall are melting. The smiling faces in flames. The trophies are ash. Are you not willing to break the walls down—even to escape—to save your life?
The king of commitment chains himself with links made of adamantine. Unbreakable. Is it comfortable?
The Goal is not to be right.
The goal is to help.
A goal is a vision. A mountain. The highest. An idea. A pillar. It stands on its principles and aims at the highest star. It makes everybody look up.
Never, never, never switch the goals. Never!
Faith is first! Then justice. Only then, rightness.
You are made right by helping, not the other way around: You are helping by being right. No, no, no! That’s the old me!
It is the dream spelled out in Genesis 1 and 2. “Take care of the world.” And Abraham’s: “Go save the whole world.”
The Bible should be read like a magic picture book— less focus. Let the right brain see. Let depth and a picture emerge.
Otherwise you end up selling and trading sacrifices at the value culture sets.
You become a prisoner of your value structure; a prisoner of rights and wrongs.
How are we set free from the value structure?
Yield to him what he most needs. Become…become…become.
Facts change. Listening and obeying doesn't.
There is something dead about science—about rationalism—about creationism.
What do you want? Do you want to be right? Do you want the Bible to be right—like you? Do you want the Bible to be like you—scientific?
The Bible is alive. Are you? The Bible carries within it stories that contain living, breathing messages of how to live. Like a crystal inserted into a fortress of crystals—each tells how to be a real human—now—and finally. Is all of you scientific? Is it the most important part about you? Will the most important thing about you be your gravestone? That you existed between such and such dates? Where does faith fit in? Does it credit you to live properly, love properly—without one shred of proof? Which gives you more credit? Is it faith? Or a rational explanation.
Maybe Genesis’ whole purpose is to say NOT SCIENCE. NOT man’s attempt to excuse himself with facts. NOT man’s attempt to remove himself within “reason.” NOT man’s attempt to say, “Give me one free miracle, I’ll explain the rest.” ANYTHING, BUT man’s explanation of God. ANYTHING, BUT this Mesopotamian “explaining away.” ANYTHING, BUT this dangerous, rationalistic slight of hand.
What troubles you now…you who have gone up on the roofs and survey the chaos?
The water stored in the lower pool was the misguided hope for salvation in the southern Kingdom—the reservoir, the ‘Old Pool,’ between the walls. The sin (v14) that would never be atoned for “till your dying day,” was not looking to the One who made the pool—the One who planned it long ago. Do not seek salvation in that which was created, but in the Creator—not in material, but immaterial. Not in what was, but in what eternally is. The divided kingdom is NOT North and South—NOT science A and science B—that is wrong. The real divided kingdom is: Reason and revelation. The rational and the irrational. Physical and metaphysical. Science and Miracle. What is seen and what is unseen. Known and Unknown. To look for answers—to seek salvation— in reason, rationality, physics, science, seen, and known; is to borrow from Science A to patch up Science B. It is to “count buildings in Jerusalem, then destroy the houses to patch up the city walls;”(v10) and “when the defenses are stripped away from Judah,” it is to “look to the weapons of the Palace of the Forest.”(v8)
“Till your dying day this sin will not be atoned for, “ says the Lord, the Lord Almighty.”
We immediately see this as a method—a religious/ missionary/ evangelical one to categorize and identify which man is “in” and and which man is “out;” and unfortunately, a method by which we strengthen (oh no, maybe even save) our ego. But that is not what Jesus means when he says “No man...” Jesus means that man gets in his own way. It is precisely man himself—his very “man-ness” that is blocking the way to where he wants to go: the place of no more desires; the place outside of the value structure; a place only of Life. Our ego—this thing Adam became—has to change; we feel it, but we can’t do it. So, along with all our other constant desiring, we desire a “method” to strengthen our position—our ego—our “I.” But the more we try...the more we fail; and all that happens is we talk and talk and strain, and our guilt increases. Jesus is not a method. There is no method. (Is there a method to love?) Jesus wants that illusion to die—to lay down.
The only real work of love is to disappear. When we love what we do, self-consciousness disappears. To love another, we must only work to become less and less and less. It is odd to the point of impossibility—which is why it is only by divine gift. No “man” could ever do it. It is a letting go kind of work. It is knowing Jesus in a completely different kind of way—and of being truly known—it just...happens. Specifically outside of the purview of the “knower.” What did Job know? THERE IS NO ME! Is there “knowing” without a “knower”? Jesus is the answer—and the answer is yes.
“The only work which the Father requires is to know the one He sent.”
The body is an organism; not an organization.
The church is a body.
An organism is complex; but it functions. And it functions in a common sense kind of way. It doesn’t function “by the book.” It functions innately. It has an autonomous—an involuntary—system that cooperates, supports; but is not under the totalitarian rule of consciousness. It is a relationship.
An organization is like a business. It is Legal. It has Rules. It has spreadsheets. It is Dry. Arid. Dead.
But where is the Water in the desert? “Don’t ask, ‘who will tell us what to do?” (Like manuals or bylaws do). It is already in you! What to do comes from inside you—in your heart! It is John’s final word: “No more books! No more words! Not one more jot! You have the spirit! Enough! Now live! Create!”