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 which 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 Salvation 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 definitely set you back a bit in terms of time, energy, and resource investment.  Nevertheless, this marketing plan does allow the Salvation Chevy people to live up to their catchy theme song:  "Drive it your way."

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 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 ride is a hybrid, driven by two engine components: Forgiveness and Character Renewal. So, the Ford ride draws its power from both the Cross and the Resurrection.

Admittedly the Ford design is more complex than the Chevy model.  But, its performance is truly phenomenal. It is absolutely life changing to experience this ride.  It will take you to the extreme limits of the performance envelope.  Far Driver Magazine put it this way. "It presses you back in your seat and takes you breathlessly through the apathy barrier. 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. For example, the Ford Redemption comes with all of the Chevy performance options as part of its standard package.  It would seem that the Ford people are also interested in measuring up to their motto: "Performance Always Matters."

So, there you have it - the two main Protestant religious rides in America. Both, attractive vehicles in their own way. And, both brands have a unique marketing plan. All that remains is the choice. And that, of course, is entirely up to the buyer.  

 But, if you are a prospective buyer, do choose carefully. The rode to Heaven is a long and challenging one.  You will need a vehicle which can truly stand up to the riggers of that trip.  And, to be sure, not all rides are equal, no matter what the color glossy brochures say.

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

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 which finally brings peace and prosperity to the whole planet. In my own musings, I have sometimes  wondered why Christ would even bother. What's the point.

But, in fact, I have come to see that 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, the human species remains little more than an eyelash away from crumbling into world chaos, or even worse, self annihilation.  And, indeed, we have never really been able to put any significant distance between ourselves and our own large scale vulnerabilities. 

And, that reality has only been made worse by our modern technologies.  For all of their worth, yet those technologies have also sometimes convoluted and made all the more imminent those threats.

Consider some of the more important things which chronically threaten us as a species.  For example, religious and political Militancy's are a long running and all too familiar trouble. From the Crusades, to the Catholic Inquisition, to Hitler, to Stalin, to present day elitist ideologues, to Islamic extremists, these arrogant servants of the Darkness have deemed it their right to prescribe bloody paths of change for the rest of us - whether we like it or not. 

So, repeatedly, these intrusive and violent would-be overlords have forced the world to the consequences of their wishes. And, always, the cost is the same.  It is our blood and our children. A huge "death penalty" is always the immutable attachment of their heartless fanaticism.

And then, there is the enemy within.  It is that inbred, "Universal Human Flaw" which we brought on ourselves in the Garden of Eden. It is the "Me Complex." 

 The basic idea flowing out of this complex is simple.  It is this.   "Everything starts and ends with me. So, the benefit must always flow in my direction."  And, this ugly character stain has now ingrained itself in individuals and nations alike to threaten and undermine every corporate human endeavor.

I recently read a disturbing story of how the French have, for years, been draining away the economic vitality out of Haiti. And yet, the French efforts to relieve the present Haitian needs are embarrassingly small. 

So, again, from French colonialism, to the war lords of Somalia, to the presidents of Syria, and Iran, and Venezuela, there is no want of a truly big screen picture of this universal character flaw which constantly produces vast human suffering.

And finally, there are the "Masking Counterfeits." To be sure, there is an exquisite divine truth available to our world which leads to a deeply fulfilling life experience. But, the problem is, it is set in a vast "house of mirrors," hidden among a thousands distorted and twisted images which all brazenly call themselves - "the truth."   

To be sure, there absolutely is a true way to a true God and a truly superlative life to be lived in league with Him. But, to find and experience this true way requires one to successfully sort through all of the lies - truly a task requiring no small effort.  Thus, this vast myriad of bogus values and ideas serves to widely insulate the world from the divine truth, the singularly authentic truth.

Nevertheless, the Living Jesus has, for a long time now, offered, to all those who are willing, the remedy for all of these things which chronically plague our species: the blood thirsty Militants, the "Me Complex," and the lies of "Counterfeit Truth." And, that simple remedy is His enlightened and loving, daily guidance in our heart. 

And, in His thousand year reign over the earth, Christ will bring that guidance to the whole world resulting in social peace and enduring prosperity. And, in doing so, He will entirely vindicate the divine truth. And, Christ, Himself, will be irrefutably confirmed as the unique and singular Savior of the world.

And, when that happens, I hope there will be some glorious messenger, whether angel or saint, who will stand to his feet upon some high and well televised pinnacle of the world.  And, as he confidently cups his hands to his mouth, he will then absolutely thunder to all who doubted the efficacy of Christ, "SEE - I TOLD YOU SO!!!"

 Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. - The Apostle Paul.