Feb 15, 2010

Choose Your Ride

OK. So here's the simple view of how it breaks down in America when it comes to the Protestant religious ride. There are many dealerships; but there are essentially only two brands of vehicles. Most everybody drives one of these two vehicles as their chosen means of transportation to Heaven. The first is the Salvation Chevy. It is unquestionably the top seller of the two redemptive vehicles.

The engine that powers the Chevy is the Forgiveness Engine. It is a single fuel engine which draws its energy solely from the power of the Cross. And this engine is powerful. It is the stand out feature of the Salvation Chevy. And, if you just sign on for the basic Chevy package, the engine is about all you get as a standard feature, but the good news - it comes with a no-questions-asked, lifetime warranty.

However, there is a Performance Package Option that you can also choose for your Chevy - at some additional cost. You can choose to add the Lifestyle Upgrade, the Spiritual Sensitivity Package, the Premium Visibility Option, and Daily On Star. But, these options do come with a price. They will set you back a bit in terms of time, energy, and resource investment.

But remember, these are options on the Chevy. They are strictly up to you. And according to Chevy's color glossy brochure, whether you choose them, or whether you don't, you will still have that wonderful, unbelievably powerful Forgiveness Engine and the iron clad, Lifetime Warranty that comes with it.

The other ride that you might choose for your trip to Heaven is the Ford Redemption. Ford, a distant number two in sales in America, has taken a more daring approach. The Ford uses a hybrid engine that is composed of two components: Forgiveness and Personal Renewal. This engine is a multi-fuel engine, and draws its power from both the Cross and the Resurrection.

Admittedly this engine is more temperamental than the Chevy engine. But its performance is truly phenomenal. It is absolutely a life changing experience to ride this engine to the far edges of the performance "envelope." Far Driver Magazine put it this way "It presses you back in your seat and takes you breathlessly through the sound barrier of spiritual apathy. And when you come out the other side, you are truly changed."

The Ford marketing plan is different too. It has quite a few more standard features, and fewer options. In the Ford plan, for example, all of the Chevy performance options are included as part of the basic package - not options. Ford's motto, "Performance Matters."

So, there you have it - the two main religious rides in America. Both, attractive vehicles. And both brands have a unique marketing plan. All that remains is the choice. And that is entirely yours. But choose carefully. The ride to Heaven is usually a long and always a supremely important trip.

Sometimes, great insight comes as basic truth in an unexpected form.

Feb 1, 2010

What A Difference A Thousand Years Can Make

The Bible tells us of the last period in world history when Jesus will establish a 1000 year political reign over the earth. It will be His benevolent monarchy that brings peace and prosperity to the whole planet. In my own "wonderings," I have often wondered why Christ would even bother. What's the point.

But, in fact, I have come to believe there really is "a point." It is to vindicate three things: His identity, His truth, and His redemptive vision for humanity. It will be a time when Christ will prove empirically that all of His overtures to mankind were true, correct, and good.

Think about it. Even at this very moment, we remain an eyelash away from crumbling into world chaos, or even worse, self annihilation. We as a species have never been able to put any significant or safe distance between ourselves and the recurrence of overwhelming darkness. And that condition has only been made worse by our technologies, which have brought into play, not only the possibility of accelerated social breakdown, but even extinction by our own hand.

Consider some of the more important things that have made us chronically self destructive, for example, Dark Extremism. From the Crusades, to the Spanish Inquisition, to Hitler, to Stalin, to contemporary Elitist Ideologues, to Islamic terrorist, these servants of darkness repeatedly force the world to the consequences of their extremes. And far to often, the cost is our blood and our children. The "death penalty" is a common attachment to dark fanaticism.

And beyond that, there is the universal flaw in humanity. It is the "Me Complex." The idea is basically, "Everything starts and ends with 'me;' so, the benefit must always flow in my direction." That philosophical flaw ingrains itself in individuals and nations alike to ever empower the darkness.
I recently read a disturbing story of how the French, as usual, have for years been draining the vitality out of Haiti. And yet their efforts toward, and their contributions to, Haitian relief now are embarrassingly small. From the French, to the African war lords of Somalia, to the presidents of Iran and Venezuela, there is no want of a "big screen" picture of the universal flaw that plagues our world and keeps us constantly near the border of overwhelming darkness.

And finally, there are the "Masking Counterfeits." To be sure, the truth is in our world. But often, we cannot sort it from the masking lies. There is a true way to a true God and a truly superlative personal destiny. But for each of those things, there are a thousand masking counterfeits. And so religion becomes confusing, the very existence of God - much less His true identity - comes into question, and our personal purpose and direction become unclear.

I think it is accurate to say that most of humanity, at this late historical hour, has simply given up any careful effort at trying to discover the true path of life. Rather now, as a whole, we just mostly pick and choose among the pleasant lies as they would seem to benefit the present moment. And as a result, overwhelming darkness has, for many, become more a "creeping daily plague" than a "pouncing lion." But it is darkness, nevertheless. And it is overwhelming, nevertheless.

***

Jesus has, for a long time now, offered to the world the remedy for all of these things: Dark Extremism, The "Me Complex," and the "Masking Counterfeits." It is simply His living lordship in our daily lives. Those who truly hear and respond to the inner voice of this unseen Savior have already come to see the extremes of darkness for what they are. They are learning daily how to move past the "Me Complex" toward a true charity that is expressed in actions and based in His holiness. And they have already, with real intent, taken up again the quest for godly truth - not simply as an intellectual pursuit - but as the means of personal newness.

So, true believers are already engaged in moving safely and permanently away from the overwhelming darkness. But that mostly happens in a personal and inner dimension. However, in a short time now, we will move to another dimension of the revelation of Christ. We will move to a more public dimension of His verification where the revelation of the Savior will become a political / historical awareness. And it will last 1000 years.

He will bring social peace and prosperity to the generations of that period. In so doing he will prove His love, His wisdom, and His absolute power over the physical world. He will also, in so doing, confirm all of His claims to and upon this world. And Christ will be completely verified as the unique and singular hope of mankind.

And near the end of that time, I hope there is some saintly evangelist or prophet who has an absolutely irresistible impulse. I hope he, consumed by the holy "Wind," will stand to his feet upon some high and very public pinnacle of the world, cup his hands to his mount, and thunder - to the Devil, to the demons, and to all human arrogance - "I TOLD YOU SO!!!"