Tag Archives: God’s Love

Christmas Traditions I CANNOT Do Without

Pt. 2 (continued from “Christmas Traditions I Can Do Without”)

When I was living out my bachelorhood in a small apartment, there was a time when my bathroom sink stopped draining. I—of course, was far too busy to do anything about this so I created my own remedy; I found a way around this dilemma out of my control. I used the shower for water—as to wet my toothbrush and such, and I’d spit in the toilet.
Thereby, I didn’t need to use the sink. I had crafted a way to completely avoid it’s necessity.
Around the time of 7th grade, my world was forcibly shamed into a similar predicament. (*In case you haven’t been privy to that story, you can see me speak on it here) In fact, it occurred around the same time as the Christmas season (which, is actually also the time of my own celebration of Birth—December 8th).

I was forced into making my world work for me. And it left an extreme distaste for Christmas—much less my birthday.
It tainted the celebration of the season.
I went from a life of innocence to a life profane. And I began to strive to make the profane, sacred. To create for myself, a self worthy of Heaven. Not in God’s eyes, but in mine.
I feared my failures, I feared my missteps, I feared that I was just shy of nice too often to make the cut.

I crafted a well enough working means to live. But it was still a shower and toilet substitute for a working bathroom sink.

The past two years I’ve been privy to an abundance of discovery of not merely who God isn’t, but who God is.

God isn’t Santa.

He doesn’t watch your every move to make sure you’re not naughty.

God doesn’t delight in sending people to Hell.

He has not preassigned, consigned, predestined some for an eternity of being eaten by Krampus. Though he has woven Krampus and Hell into His story, and many—if not all, will feel it’s sting. But not for eternity.

God isn’t in danger of being made profane.

The curtain that separated the Holy of Holy’s was not to protect God from us. Nor is in war for his creation with Krampus, where a victor for the world (in its entirety) has yet to be decided, Krampus is not God’s equivalent.

God is Sacred.

The profane cannot enter the presence of the sacred, but the sacred is free and able to enter in to the profane. When Christ was born, he was birthed in to a manger—the sacred was clothed in profanity, but did not become profane. When Christ died, the curtain of the Holy of Holy’s was torn, and the sacred flooded in to a world profane.

God is Love.

He created out of Love, He redeems out of Love, He woos out of Love, He finishes His story out of Love, He tells His story to us and through us out of Love. If God is Love, then everything He does, even allowing some to feel death and Hell’s sting, to even Hate (Esau I have Hated) is out of Love.

He allows himself to be birthed, later allowing his birth to be associated with the winter solstice; years upon years before I was born, before I felt what profanity creates, so that I can be shown a clear example of what is Sacred being birthed in the midst of the profane, in order to make what is profane, sacred.

Christmas is naught to me but that action.
God—creator of everything,
Jesus—the image of the invisible God,
born in a state of vulnerability–not merely on the earth–in level with it, but even lower, below it, in a cave, in a manger;
a riddle of Heaven–in an instant, trading its position above the Earth, with that of its alleged antithesis; taking a position under the Earth,
turning the Earth upside down, and beginning a revolution, nay, the revolution.

The revolution that shows me that nothing I can do—and nothing that can be done to me, can ever outweigh Him and His sacredness.

The sacred is not in danger of becoming profane; it is the profane that is in constant danger of becoming sanctified.

And His Love for me outweighs any depth of Hell I may encounter—by choice or forced upon me, in this present life or for all time.

Love consumes Krampus, the profane WILL be sanctified.

Fear of either is then cast aside, and a heart and life of love, of sanctified profanity is free to be and celebrate with memories of it all: of profanity, of innocence, and of sacrality, every December, and all year around.

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Christmas Traditions I Can Do Without

Growing up in Germany has given me so many memories and traditions surrounding Christmas. As it is, I can now never seem to find Christmas presents I’m really excited about; whereas while there, I always managed to cover everyone on my list with one trip to the Christkindlmarkt (not to mention the freedom of sipping Glühwein and munching Mandeln ).
It also afforded me the experience of many Germanic/Alpine/Bavarian Christmas traditions.  And while most were amazing (Saint Nicholas Day on December 6th, great candy and food, great drink, etc), one stood out as the most awesome–metal tradition around: a face to fear around the Season:
And that face, was

KRAMPUS.

KrampusKrampus 2

He’s the antithesis of Saint Nicholas. While Nicholas gives you toys and gifts and such in your boot if you’ve been good, Krampus comes for the kids who have been naughty. He beats them mercilessly with a stick, stuffs them into his sack and takes them back to his cave in the mountains to devour for his Christmas dinner. (In fact, in some traditions, he not only devours them once, but digests them alive, only to devour them again and again for all time.)

It still surprises me that this face of terror and fear is not more widely known–that, or it’s given sway to other things that are “nice” up front but hold the same meaning. Elf on a Shelf, that “better watch out, better not cry,’ Christmas song.

It’s funny to me that when it comes to the nice faces, we always seem to not only have a choice, but if we choose poorly, we get what’s coming to us.  But when it’s a face like Krampus–even if we’re talking children who “chose” to be naughty, who were provided many times in their life to accept the true meaning and spirit of Christmas but who still didn’t “accept Christmas into their hearts”, it’s considered horrific.  And–to perhaps the slightly more educated, it’s called what it is: fear mongering.

Fear of a scale of naughty/niceness that you cannot control.

“Have I been good enough?”

“Am I naughty?”

I mean, is there really any way of knowing for sure?  What is the cutoff of being considered naughty? If I’m one step above that am I considered nice? Am I able to avoid Krampus when he comes around?

And that’s what I love so much about Krampus.  I mean, at least in Bavaria they give him the face that he deserves.  They don’t dress it up to look like something it’s not–a Monster.  Here in the States no matter how you justify it, that same fear is present for children around the holidays, it’s just packaged to not look like the (a) monster that truly elicits fear rather than love.

As I said, we have songs treating Santa like a ‘Big Brother’ government which we utterly wish to avoid; “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good…” (Or worse that damn spying, ‘Elf on the Shelf’—a spy sent to watch your every choice and behavior)

Will I get what I want? Or will I get nothing but coal (still useful if you think about it, but it doesn’t compare to getting everything you want free of any service of yours)?

Have you been good this year?

The single most terrifying question to a child with any ability of abstract thought.
“Uhhh, I don’t know. What do you consider good? What will happen if I’m not? I think I’ve been good, but is my frame of reference what’s being used here? What is good anyway?”

This reminds me very much so of another tradition based on fear, that can also be celebrated this time of year amongst another group of people.

Jesus.

Now, before getting in to what I do not mean with that, I will get into what I do mean.

I doubt many are unfamiliar with the Evangelical traditional view of Heaven and Hell—I myself grew up striving to understand and reconcile it with my thoughts of God and God’s character.

As ‘tradition’ (as which I shall here after refer to it as), the view of the afterlife bears a salient resemblance to the aforementioned Christmas traditions (indubitably so with the German Christmas tradition).

Firstly so, it’s not merely pertaining to receiving what you want—to which is a genuinely self-centered, selfish view of the world and beyond it, but survival: will I get paradise, Heaven, and outwit punishment, Hell?

Secondly, have I been good enough?

Am I naughty?

Have I done everything that I should to obviate Hell and achieve Heaven? Have I said the right thing, done the right thing? Am I part of the Elect? What is considered ‘the right thing’ for me to do anyway? Do I have to pray, believe, be baptized, and ‘sin’ no more?
What do you (God) consider good? What will happen if I’m not? I think I’ve been good, but is my frame of reference what’s being used here? What is good anyway?

Our view of God is the same as that of Santa. “He sees you when you’re sleeping, He knows when you’re awake, He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for God’s sake…”

Is Krampus going to come and take me to Hell? To punish me forever for not ‘getting it right’ regardless of the ‘wrongness’ of the presentation?

GAHHH!
Scare tactics! All scare tactics to elicit appropriate, intended, desired responses. If there’s no controlling Truth itself, there’s no controlling it’s revelation to each and every one of us on Earth. But you better make damn sure that there are those who will strive to control it by controlling how it is presented to the masses. Religion may very well be the opiate of the masses; that does not requisite Truth to be the same.

There is no Fear in Love—rather, perfect Love casts out Fear.

Regardless of how this season is celebrated—be it Santa of the Birth of Jesus (or neither one of those), it has been traditionally a Season celebrating love.
And Love is something—like Truth, that we can’t control.

Love is something that is entirely self-less.

It’s when we try to control it that we make it fearful. We make laws, we build walls, and we go to war for something to which gives itself freely, utterly independent of us and our actions—naughty or nice.

Continued here in Part 2: (Christmas Traditions I CANNOT Do Without)

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‘Them Gays’ and The Church

UPDATE: 1st. August. 2012

This being one of the top viewed posts on my blog, I felt the need to add a minor blip to it, in order to convey what I believe the Bible is saying about homosexuality. The post itself is a specific response to a specific conversation and–while still worth reading, only conveys a broad picture of what I hold true.

The large scope of the matter, I feel, rests on the word Sodomite.
In the New Testament, the passages concerning homosexuality–and all the times in the various translations the word ‘homosexuality’ is used, the actual word that it’s translated from is ‘Sodomite.’ Sodomite was a term familiar to the Jew, and it’s history does in fact date back to Sodom and Gomorrah, and the story of Lot there.
Yet what is intrinsically tied to this term, Sodomite, has been lost in modernity, lost in translation, and lost in meaning.
You see, Sodomite was a term used to reference male temple prostitutes. Whereas female temple prostitutes were referred to as Harlots, to distinguish a temple prostitute that was male as opposed to one that was female, they referred to them as Sodomites.
As I said, it was indeed coined based on the story of Lot in Sodom, and the gang rape and desire to rape the angels visiting Lot, but I believe that there is an enormous difference between what we call and consider homosexuals today, and what was termed a Sodomite in Scripture.
You see, if we’re referring to Sodomites, we’re not only referring to the male version of a prostitute, but there’s a whole ideology and cultural understanding of specifically ‘Temple’ prostitution that we do not seem to grasp.
Temple prostitutes were known for vile sexual acts, what we would deem presently/modernly as ‘Sexual Deviancy.’

There is no love represented in Temple Prostitution. It is vile sexual action in the mindset of ‘worship’ of false deities.
Now, we know according to John’s letters (1st John) that God is LOVE, and where the Spirit of God is, there is Freedom.
When Paul was writing about Sodomites in the New Testament, he was referencing the Greek and Roman community present in his time, and noting to his followers, to the churches he was writing to, not to become embedded in that culture. The gratuitous sexuality for the sake of itself and pleasure what was what Paul was warning against.
For in it, there is no love, and without love, there is no freedom.

So I ask, if Paul was really warning about ‘giving in to our sexual desires,’ our lusts, no matter what they are, was he warning against homosexuality, or against actions that contain no love, and therefore, no freedom, and thus, are binding, addicting, enslaving?

While I will state that the “Gay Pride” movement–especially men in it, has the strong appearance of what can only now be described as ‘Temple Prostitute’ ideology–flagrant sexual acts for the sake of the acts themselves, the friends I have in the GLBT community can only be considered as seeking love.

So how then, can those that seek love, even if it is in a way which runs contrary to what and how we consider to be the ‘natural order of things,’ be faulted as not loved by God as they are, for who they are?

Even still, the crazy thing about God is that he not only is Love, but He seeks out the lost and the low–the prostitutes. He even commanded one of His prophets to marry a Harlot so for Hosea (the prophet) to better understand God’s relationship and abounding, unrelenting love for us.

As such, I will forever hold that God is love, and where love is, God is.
Yet the funny thing about scripture, is that it cleaves us, like we were two people, not one. The very passage that says, “but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us,” and “we love because He first loved us,” goes on to say that “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”

Part of me thinks, “Alright, God lives in me, and His love is made complete in me, cause I have loved.”
And then part of me thinks, “Crap, there are people I struggle with loving, and if I can’t say I love them while saying that I love God, not only am I a liar, but I don’t truly love God.”

See?
Two people. One of me loves, yet one of me doesn’t.
The good news is that that one that doesn’t will one day be cut from me and thrown into the fire forever, while the one that loves will live on IN LOVE, to Love, forever and ever.
And I hold this to be true of EVERYONE, regardless of gender, orientation, or sexual preference.

~And the world will be better for this.

(PREVIOUS POST, WRITTEN 10. June. 2011)
In recent conversations with some online friends, I really felt the need to express my thoughts/heart on homosexuality and the GLBT community.

Here we go:

I think too often we take the story of the horrific sexuality that happened in Sodom and Gomorrah, combine it with Romans 1, where it says “God gave them over to their shameful lusts” and then make some sort of theological doctrinal dogma…stuff about homosexuality. Without covering terrible English translating (the actual translation of Romans 1 would read something more like “God let them have their dishonorable sufferings,” note, sufferings, which is a more broad category that somehow–translation wise, the “Church” has attributed to homosexuals only.), let’s just take it as is for argument’s sake.

Firstly, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are my ways your ways.”God
If we are to know him, we are to know his Son. Who…as it turns out, was significantly silent on the subject of homosexuality. What He was loud and proud about was love. Love to such a degree that those who may be our “enemies” are who we are supposed to love, which will then make us perfect, as the Father is perfect. Love to such a degree that the last and the least were made first, and the first (Jesus), was made last for such a feat. But herein lies the problem. Modern Evangelicalism claims to be followers of Christ—to be Christians, but we’ve got an awful lot of Darwinism (the philosophy, not the science) in our doctrine.
We (I’ll lump myself in even though I’m ashamed of it) by our actions seem to say, “God came to save the world, yeah, but there are those of us who are winners, and those who are losers.” Sounds a lot like the Christian version of “survival of the fittest” to me. So…why does that need for a loser rear its ugly head in a religion whose King became the very last and least, the loser, so that we all could win?* (Insert obligatory Rob Bell reference that “Love Wins.” God wins in the End)

Why do we need to have villains, losers? Gays. Muslims. Mormons. Obama. The people that shop at Wal-Mart. Osama. Harold Camping.
Why?
So that we can know we are right? How is that Christianity? When our God became the scapegoat, so that all of us losers (that’s right, we all are; maybe in a later post I’ll tell you why I am) could win?
Mull on that for a bit and I’ll continue with point number B.

Number 2: “for they exchanged the truth of God for a lie.” Pretty sure that’s what Paul was getting at in that Romans 1 passage. The byproduct of that was everything else which follows in the passage. And I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just “the gays” that “exchanged the truth of God for a lie,” but all humanity at one time or another.
You. Me. Everyone.

So…God consigned us to a destruction of the body…in any and every perverse way we ourselves had the freedom to think of. Cause after all, what is shameful lusts but sin? And what is sin? Paul goes on to call it lawlessness. And what does the bible say is the law? Pretty sure it says it’s summed up in this: love.
So…sin is lovelessness…which is essentially selfishness.
And that looks an awful lot like all of humanity, not one single group.

So how does all that seem to translate to what the notion now seems to be: “God has made some sort of more shameful sin that looks like people are born with it, and I guess I just don’t know ‘cause it’s so damn confusing.”

Now we come to some of the more “liberal” Christian views. Some say, “hey, you know what, this whole homosexual thing is just your sin nature. And as such—while I myself can’t seem to work out an “abstinence from sin” program for my sin, we’re gonna tell you that all you have to do to be a Christian and serve God is to abstain from being Gay. Just…stay single, and…don’t rock the boat. And we’ll love you as a single person in the church struggling with an addictive sin just like we do alcoholic Christians and the like. Because quite frankly, when it boils down to it, we can’t fathom a God who might create someone to be something like a homosexual and yet still desire Christ.”
I think it’s easier to just lump it in with “other sins” because of not understanding it. “You’re not really Gay, you’re just a sinner. And when we get to heaven, you’ll see. Just as when you become a Christian you get a new heart and a new spirit, someday when we get to heaven, you’ll get a new body. And that’ll be a non-gay body. So…YAY GOD!”
Sorry, but I just don’t think it’s too clear on whether that entails gays getting a brand spanking new non-gay body. In fact, it really is rather vague on that. It says the sin, the lawlessness—which is lovelessness will be gone; that it will be burned away. But as for whether that entails homosexuality…not so clearly defined…
Who knows what heaven is gonna be like? Maybe it will entail the freedom and ability to share yours, your neighbor’s, my neighbor’s, and anyone else we(I) come into contact with’s ecstasy and joy. Pure, unadulterated, heavenly joy, with no heterosexual/homosexual labels coined and pertaining. That deserves to be said again… WITH NO HETEROSEXUAL AND HOMOSEXUAL LABELS COINED OR PERTAINING.
I think when we get to heaven the only sexuality that is going to exist is…heavenosexuality.(just made that up on the fly, copyright, gotta give me mad proppas if you wanna use it.)
What I’m saying is this: doesn’t it kinda make more sense that just as when we are in Heaven there will be “people from every tribe, nation, race, and people group,” yet our focus will not be on those defining traits, but on the fact that truly, we are of one nation—that of Zion; wouldn’t it make sense that maybe there won’t be any “earthly” defined sexuality? That we will all share in each others joys and praises and heavenly ecstasy?

Thus, we will all be heavensexuals.

It’s here I feel like I need to clarify on the point of Gender vs. Sexuality. I believe they are two differing aspects. In that, I don’t think gender necessarily garnishes sexuality, nor sexuality, gender. Now I know that that has seemed to become perverted in our state and time, that there seems to have been a rickety bridge constructed between gender and sexuality, but I think its false. So when I talk of Heaven, understand that I do not mean we will give up our gender—that there will be no male or no female, but just as everything, it may not matter once we’re there. . I don’t know how that’ll look. I mean, Lewis gets into some pretty crazy descriptions of such in Perelandra–that of gender and male/female debate, and he is able to word it much more eloquently than I find myself able to, so I’m just going to point people that way, to that book if they want to see a great description of Gender and the whole “male/female” shtick.

For now, I rest with this: we are all family. Sons and daughters of a Father we may not fully know or understand, but a day will come when we know just as we are known. Until then, we are called to Love God, and Love each other. IN that makes the kingdom now, if we so choose to see it. But as for me–though I may interact with some awkward stupidity, love is love is God is love, and if anyone (Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Muslim, Obama, Wal-Mart shoppers, etc) can see who Jesus really is, and love Him—or at least allow themselves to be loved by Him, just as I struggle to do day after day, moment after moment, you’re welcome to do so in my church, standing next to me.

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