Saturday, June 20, 2015

Drive-in Divinity

So the fam and I went to the drive-in last night (yes there are still drive-ins).  It's always (at least) a two-show affair which started last night with Inside Out followed by Avengers Age of Ultron.

Inside Out was thoughtful (literally), funny and heart-warming.  It opened up opportunities to talk to the kids about not relying on emotions for decision-making but instead on what we know is right and wrong.  Once it was over the little girls were ready to bunker down in the back seat for a good sleep.

Avengers was, well, as usual - AWESOME!  Watching from the middle seat of a minivan with three other people in the front wasn't the most ideal situation but it's too squishy with all four of us up there.

SPOILER ALERT!The movie went along as would be expected until we get nearly to the end and we see the creation of Ultron's polar opposite, thereafter named Vision.  But that's not how the Vision first described himself.  When asked who he was, he hesitantly answered, "I am … I am."

WHOA, NOT COOL MARVEL!  Major blaspheme, right there!

That was my original, and still is kinda, feeling about that statement.  If you aren't from a Judeo-Christian background (and maybe not even then) you may have breezed by this statement without a second thought.  But if you've ever read the account of Moses and the burning bush, you will understand the significance of such a statement.
So, what's wrong with naming oneself I am.  Well, by having Vision make the statement, "I am … I am,"  Marvel was essentially equating him to God.  You see God's name is not God.  In Jewish tradition, God's name is so sacred they didn't even want to say or write it.  They used the word Elohim to describe God most of the time, and Adonai to say His true name.  The places where the word Lord is written in the Bible indicates God’s real name, Yahweh, is being used.  Have you guessed what Yahweh means?  That’s  right, I Am.

When Moses was speaking to the Lord in the burning bush, he asked Him, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I Am who I Am.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I Am has sent me to you’… The Lord the God of … Abraham… has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:13, 14).   Thus I Am has always been the true Living God of the Jews.  This explains why Jesus was so hated by His contemporaries.  Once He was disputing with some religious leaders about his divinity and in response to their exclamation of “You are not yet fifty years old … and you have seen Abraham!” he said, “Very truly, I tell you … before Abraham was, I Am!”  The leaders were enraged because of this perceived blasphemy and “at this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds” (John 8:57-59).  How did Jesus “slip away” from an angry mob picking up stones and ready to kill Him?  Truly, He is I Am!  I imagine Him becoming ever so invisible as He walked calmly through the crowd or on the topic of superheroes, maybe He used super-speed and zipped out of there.

The very idea of God’s name being I Am is remarkable.  Just think about that statement.  It encompasses all time.  Jesus was able to make Himself much more clear in His revelation to John than He was shirking away from a murderous mob.  He refers to the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet when He calls Himself “the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 21:6).   In the first chapter of Revelation He says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega … who was, and who is, and who is to come, the Almighty” (vs. 8).  I visualize the Lord’s presence over eternity instead of in eternity.  Here’s a simple diagram to illustrate what I mean:yahweh
The Bible says that Yahweh is, He was and He will be, but I’ve taken some literary liberty and read it as “I am the beginning, I am the present, and I am the future.”  It just opens the meaning that Yahweh not so much Was, or Will be, but He simply is what His name says, He is.  Strong’s concordance defines Yahweh as self-existent, or eternal.  Yahweh simply is.

Why do I seem so fascinated by this description of God?  First of all, it simply blows my mind.  God, Yahweh, exists in and of Himself.  He has no creator, He did not begin, He just was (is).  Secondly, I feel this description of God holds the key to so many questions that us humble human beings have.  It seems that many people are seeking to union themselves (by way of chants, meditation, yoga, or other methods) with the eternal life force.  We’ve all seen, at least on TV, people sitting cross-legged chanting “Ommm.”  “The Mandukya Upanishad, which is entirely devoted to om, begins like this:  “Om is the imperishable word. Om is the universe, and this is the exposition of om. The past, the present, and the future, all that was, all that is, all that will be is om.  Likewise, all else that may exist beyond the bounds of time, that too is om." 1 Hmm?  Sounds familiar, yet the idea of om nor , Brahma, nor any of the hundreds of other Hindu gods, claim to be the personification of Eternity itself, in the person of Jesus Christ.

So, is it possible that a search for the Creator, or the universal life force, or the “infinite intelligence” is a search for the Living God, the Eternal Yahweh?  I believe it is.  But I also believe that search will be in vain if one does not accept Jesus Christ as Lord, to the exclusion of all other gods.

Thirdly, in a time when God is thrown around as the token deity for all religions, I like that my God has a name,  His name is I Am , and He is, and is of His Son Jesus, and His earthly Holy Spirit.

Originally I gasped in shock at the audacity of Marvel likening a super-hero to Yahweh, but perhaps others noticed it too and may contemplate the possibility of a thing or being simply existing.  And perhaps that contemplating will lead them to the only being that has, is and will forever exist, Yahweh, the Living God.

Friday, June 12, 2015

What He's saying...

Last night, my first born mused over his agony of having to miss a sleepover because I’d committed him to serve, “But God wants us to be happy… ” “No, my child, God does not want us to be happy just to please ourselves. He wants us to help the widows, and the fatherless. When we serve, we find true happiness we will never find by serving ourselves only. ” He left my presence, sowing a seed of anger to grow suffering to his soul that I cannot let come to fruition.
What have I been missing all these years to let my boy believe that sacrifice, and pain are un-Godlike?

Friday, June 5, 2015

The facebook status that turned into a blog post... On inequality.

I just read in the paper that a two girls were essentially forced to sit out of their unisex soccer tournament because they were playing against an Islamic team who is unable to play with girls because of religious reasons. The Islamic team offered to forfeit but this would mean the Catholic school would not be able to advance if they didn't have a certain number of goals. The rules of the tournament are clear that girls are eligible to be on the boys team, if there is no girls team at their school.

This is a classic example of the rights of one group infringing upon the rights of another. Does the Islamic school have a right to refuse to play with girls? Absolutely by a) not entering the tournament in the first place and b) forfeiting with no penalty against the opposing teams. Instead of honoring both the religious rights of the Islamic team and the rights of women to be free from discrimination, the Catholic school and tournament officials stomp all over the rights of the female players by putting those poor girls in the position to "take one for the team" - literally. No one should have to "take one for the team" by way of outright discrimination.

There is so much emphasis on equality and inclusiveness in our schools yet give a clear-cut case to school officials and they blow it. Anyone who knew me as a teen would have described me as a feminist. I do not generally agree with mainstream feminist ideals but I am for equality of the sexes, and more importantly for equality of all people. What I am against is the idea that minority rights on any grounds can trump the rights of the majority. This goes for the forcing and/or excessive influence of minority ideals upon the general population. Likewise the majority group should be never be allowed rampant bias against minorities because of the presumed upper hand.