FIRST-TRUMP#top..........Sound the alarm in Zion..... ...........................


. A Priest sounds the alarm on a shofar




Baloney Factory

15Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. (SoS 2:)

On occasion I like baloney. I like to put it in a sandwich with tomatoes, mustard and relish along with a few other goodies. But I would neither like to have baloney as a regular diet, nor would I like to have it forced-fed to me.

Yet I see just that everywhere I turn - people trying to force-feed their doctrine on others as a regular diet.

In the World this is prevalent, and expected. Bosses impose their dictates on their underlings. Parents spoon-feed their commands to their children. Teachers force down the throats of their students that which they have been told is proper fodder.

And there's nowhere that baloney is fed more to unsuspecting people than in the churches.

The Bible is to be believed. That is, if you want to follow Jesus and satisfy the will of God, then you have to believe the Bible. That is a given.

And where do we learn what the Bible says we are to believe? If we try to read it ourself and understand it, the likelihood of success is slim to none, unless it is to be accomplished far down the road and after many years of intensive study.

But the Catholic church (I think that it has slackened a bit) did not allow their people to read the Bible on their own because they might misinterpret it, which they wanted to keep as their own prerogative, and then only read it in a language that no one (probably even the priests) understood.

Then came along the rebellion of the church. And the printing press. Now the Bible was available to everyone. Now everyone could read the Bible and misinterpret it for themselves. They did not have to have someone misinterpret it for them. But if you still felt a need to follow someone else's misinterpretation, there were plenty of people available, ready and anxious to do just that for you.

And they still are.

Was there any time that the Word of God was pure and uncorrupted? Of course, when Jesus was the only one teaching the Word.

The next best was when the Apostles were instructing the churches. Of course, wherever an Apostle would set up a church, right on their heels was at least two people ready and anxious to misinterpret their words and confuse the people.

And were they ever good at confusing the people and leading them astray!

But that was then. Are there such people who desire to lead the seeking Christian astray today? Yes, there are. They go under the titles of Theologians, Preachers, Pastors, Bishops, Priests, Sunday School Teachers, Deacons, Elders, etc, etc. In other words, they are everywhere and in every denomination and and in every segment of the church. And they are so good at what they do, they appear more righteous and "right" than those very few who in fact have the Word of Truth, if there even is such a people any more.

I find it interesting that someone can draw a circle on the ground around themself and declare that only the person standing in that circle has the "truth." And if others do not listen to that "truth," they are in error. Any slight deviation from that which the person in the circle says can not be right and is therefore rejected as heresy.

And I find it interesting as well that around that circle we will find multitudes of people who are clamoring to get in, learning every word that person says so they can repeat it and be declared as one of the few with "rightness."

Normally what we think of when we think of such people are Gurus who sit high on a mountain that followers must climb in hopes of hearing but one word with which to base their life. The American Indian sought a "vision" to learn what animal force they were under the protection of. The Catholics follow the dictates of the Pope, or seek favor and advise from the virgin Mary or some other Sainted person. Cults investigate the writings of their Founding Fathers to see what they are to "believe." Preachers of the Protestant Denominations search the doctrines of whatever church they belong to in order to learn what is allowed to be preached. And members of the congregation listen to their Preachers to find what it is and is not acceptable beliefs to believe in.

In order to help all these seekers learn the Truth there has risen people of great knowledge and wisdom we call "Theologians." These wise men, possessing the full understanding of the Bible that few if any ordinary Christian could possibly possess have graciously shared their wisdom with the people. And this would be a wonderful and highly beneficial thing for all of us - if the wisdom of these Theologians didn't run the gambit from one extreme to the other, and each not only contradicting one another, but half the Bible as well.

Everyone working to create their little circle of rightness. Like marbles dumped on a concrete stairs, all the wise men scramble to the bottom, bumping into one another and into everything else, yet none having any direction but down.

A tight little circle of rightness.

What caused me to write this little piece, that in my own mind is nothing but nonessential hogwash that whatever importance it might bear has already been expressed better elsewhere, is the importance of details.

I was reading a series of pages, quite extensive I might add, on a website where the writer was condemning famous members of his denomination for their "heresy." Much of his opinion, I found, seemed to me to be well founded. I learned a lot. The writer not only gave much information, but provided a great deal of documented evidence besides. In my opinion, there was nothing wrong in this writers efforts. If a person is in the public eye seeking followers, he or she must also be open to criticism and instruction as well.

But I noticed in this man's writing just how finicky in our demanded rightness we can become. When he condemned Preachers, Theologians and Evangelists for deviating from the foundational stone of Faith such as the Divinity of Jesus and the Resurrection and even of God Himself, I applaud his efforts. But when he then condemns those of his denomination for supporting other versions of the Bible than that accepted by his denomination, or for associating with other preachers who do not belong to his denomination, I find myself minimizing everything he says. It becomes clear that he is not as interested in preserving the integrity of God's Word and His people, as he is in defending the stance of his Denomination's doctrines.

I, as an artist, equate this writers nitpicking the lint of his doctrine like someone criticizing the quality and the subject matter of one of my paintings by the frame I chose to present it in. You may consider that an absurd comparison, because who would do such a thing. I have had it happen often, and almost always by so-called "experts," that is art instructors for the colleges and judges in art shows.

When it comes to being critical of those who criticize, I am in no position to call the kettle black. I criticize everyone, including myself. I am not against criticisms, but I should hope we all will be more selective in our topic to criticize. I leave with an example taken from one of my neighbors who is always laughing and joking with everyone who passes by. One day I stopped and talked but a very few minutes with him, and the subject of the park employees came up (I didn't bring it up) and this man's voice and features took on characteristics of one possessed. "Look at that!" he yelled. "We pay them good money and they don't do anything! Just look at those dandelions growing across the street!" Now, I couldn't see the dandelions this man was shaking his finger at. But I did see those employees digging trenches to repair water mains, and cutting up fallen trees, and repairing broken plumbing in the clubhouse.

We see what we look at. And we don't see what we have turned our back on.

Let's be careful in which direction we chose to look.




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