Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Da Word... 222! Evil

You know, evil gets a bad rap sometimes.  That may sound strange, but it's true!  So many things get attributed to evil it's crazy!  Evil is sometimes an innocent bystander that gets things attributed to it that should not be.  In fact, some people use evil as a scapegoat.  But is evil even something tangible?  

This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee.  He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
- John 2:11

Our homie Jesus da Christ was at this wedding right.  And BOOM... they were out of wine!!!  You can't be out of wine at a wedding, no no NO!  So J's moms was like, "Hey son, they've run out of wine dawg."  And J responded, "hey now, it ain't my tiiiiime moms."  Despite that, his moms told the servants at the wedding to do whatever Jesus said.  And BAM... Jesus turned water into wine.

Now check this, the verse states that this was the FIRST of his miraculous signs!  I'm no Theologian so I haven't mapped out the timeline of miraculous events Jesus performed once he began his ministry.  But this one occurred pretty soon after he started calling his first disciples.  Now.... if this turning water into wine is his first MIRACLE.... how then can wine be evil!?!?

There are many peeps, particularly in Christian circles, who deem wine, alcohol, etc., as evil.  But yo, how can an object, an inanimate thing, itself be evil?!  Wine can't actively punch someone in the face.  No.  Wine is not evil, it is the ABUSE of wine that is evil!  The minute someone kicks moderation to the curb, severe consequences can emerge.  As a result an individual tends to engage in activity that produces evil ripples.  That person does evil.

Where am I getting at here?  Forget about wine, that's just an example to illuminate the issue.  There are a myriad items people attribute to evil that they should not.  Things in and of themselves are not evil.  It is the abuse of things that is evil.  That action of abuse brings rise to yet more actions that are evil... and then bad things happen.

So what is evil?  Evil is a direction.  If God is good, as da Word states, then anything not going in the direction of God is what?  If everything that is good is contained in God, then anything that points in a direction other than God is something that moves away from good.  Moving away from good is moving toward evil.  But yo, some peeps might not like that because it's a God-centric definition.  Well, try this on for size....

Another way to define evil is the path of least resistance.    That's right.   People seem to have a hard time believing that people tend to do bad things.  But it makes sense that people tend to do bad things!  Why?  Because nearly everything in the naturally occurring world operates by choosing the path of least resistance.  When was the last time you saw water go uphill?  Or try to bust through a boulder instead of flowing around it?  

Evil is the path of least resistance.  The reason it is so enticing is because it is SO easy to engage in.  Doing good, pshhhh, that takes work!  It takes character, integrity, going against the grain, and standing up even if you stand alone.  But doing evil is easy because it's instant, self gratifying, and "fun".   Evil is selfish while good is selfless.  Evil is a conscience decision on our part to do something destructive, no matter how subtle that destruction might be.  In fact, it could be so subtle that we may not realize it is destructive.  But if unpacked, BAM, we see it.

Let's wrap this up homies.  We need to get it in our head that the choices we make result in evil.  We gotta stop offloading responsibility for our poor decisions by attributing objects itself to evil.  The object is not evil, it is our abuse of it that is evil.  Once we start doing this our eyes will be opened to the real conditions of our hearts.  Once we can identify those things, we can change.  The sooner we accept that it is us, the quicker we can enact measures to change.


   - patrick 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Da Word... 221! Fear

The acronym KISS is greaaaaat! It stands for, "Keep It Simple... STUPID!!!!" For some reason we tend towards complexity. Why? Psshh if I know. It might have something to do with the false assumption that if one appears complex or speaks in a manner that seems complex, society thinks that individual is sharp. But check this, most geniuses are genius because they recognize the simplicity in the complex. Genius is recognizing the obvious and removing complexity. So KISS baby. When we KISS, the path forward suddenly feels attainable.

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
- Ecclesiastes 12:13

Now that seems pretty short and direct eh? Some might even take offense to the directness of that verse! I mean come on, it's said with such abruptness and finality. It's like the writer assumes knowledge of the whole meaning of Life. Besides... it can't be that simple.... OH but it is!!!!!

Fear has two connotations in da Word that I know of. One is genuine outright fear -- you know the type that gets you trembling in your shoes. The other means reverence or respect. When it comes to Pops, it's good to have both! For one, you compared to God.... man that's like an ant compared to a fully adult human being. And even THAT analogy is so far from the real gap between us and God. If an ant knew fear, it would definitely be QUAKIN' once the mere shadow of a human came across. We gotta have that kind of fear when we think o' Pops. It helps to check our egos, ground us, and bring us back into the real perspective of the extraordinary nature of God versus our own.

But we also gotta have the fear that means reverence and respect. The more we have of this fear, the less we have of the former. Reverence and respect replace a feeling of terror. See, in reverence and respect we have no reason to be afraid. By revering and respecting we acknowledge the gap, in fact we are in awe of it! We seek to close the gap by turning God into one of our role models.

And checkit, fearing God in these senses leads us to obeying his commandments! See how easily these things just flow? One leads to another which leads to another? It's straight SIMPLE kid! The KISS principle in full effect. Gradually turning from being afraid toward reverence leads us toward obeying commandments no longer out of fear for consequences but out of desire to demonstrate reverence and respect through action. In fact, we begin to realize the profound nature of the commandments. Cuz people, those commandments weren't made for God, they were made to aid us in protecting ourselves from our very selves! These commandments in fact free us to truly live.

So what's the word? KISS. Fear Pops and obey his commandments. Everything else falls into place as a result for doing these simple things will transform our very souls and desires. Selfishness will fall by the wayside and the true outpouring of love will replace it. And then, my friends, you will know joy.


- patrick