The title of this post is the tentative working title of the book I'm trying to compose out of a lifetime of being at odds with the corporate churches of America, as they exist.
Modern Christianity is the culmination of thousands of years of collective thought and dogma, primarily originating in Rome, and then branching out into the many twigs of Protestant reform.
It is well known now, in our present day of wonderful epiphanous metamorphoses, that First Century Christianity, the faith of the Apostles and seminal church, was lost. Many movements within the body of Christ, for the past few decades, have acknowledged this error, and have tried to move back and start again.
It's not fast enough for me, though. Even the Jews 4 Jesus movement, which was a thunderous success, has fallen into the pitfalls of their Baptist and Protestant sponsors, adopting bad customs, in my opinion.
That doesn't mean that the millions of good people who faithfully attend and support these churches, and lead them in pastoral care, are condemned.
Forgive them Father, for they simply don't know what they do. Forgive me, too, and show me what to do.
Let's step away from the volatility of judging the Church, and take a parallel look at it's great-aunt, Orthodox Judaism.
In Israel, Orthodox Jews represent the minority in Israel's governing body, the Knesset, but, wield inordinate power over the entire state. Netanyahu has always faced incredible challenges appeasing these near-fanatics, and one of their demands is that many functions of the government and defense abide by their interpretation of the Sabbath rules. They cannot manufacture weapons, or even diligently defend themselves in some cases.
A resounding hue and cry emerges from the Israeli Knesset when trying to reason with the ultra-orthodox, who will not budge on certain issues. One of their views is total intolerance towards the state accepting homosexuality in citizens. Sounds like Iran.
The moderate voices in the Knesset frequently invoke a German-Yiddish vernacular, with the Jewish saying, "Vie id es geshriben" or "wie ist es geschrieben?" which means:
"WHERE IS IT WRITTEN?"
The challenge is fraught for the ultra-orthodox to prove that God will not allow Israel to govern itself as needed on the Sabbath.
Similarly, Jesus faced exactly the same mentality in Jerusalem when he violated the Sabbath by healing the sick. He constantly tried to reason with the guardians of religion to consider that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
In Exodus 20:11, Moses wrote:
For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Sabbath forced man to utilize a day to rest, as God rested. Otherwise, man would work himself to death by working 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. There would be no time for personal reflection, or communion with God, family, community or personal time alone.
Throughout the Old Testament, though, there are exceptions to this obligate sacred duty, especially when it came to doing good works.
Even in the days of the Torah, when by following the laws of Moses, men could find their only redemption, there were instances of profound grace.
In the Torah, someone from the bloodline of Moab could not set foot in the Temple for seven generations. Yet, in the Book of Ruth, a Moabitis, she became the grandmother of King David.
Moses, who gave the law, "Thou shalt not kill," killed a man. Moses, who gave the instructions for the Jews to follow, married outside his bloodlines, and wasn't circumcised until he was an old, old, old man.
Law is a framework to guide a culture into the light, but, the letter of the law kills, and the spirit of the law is freedom. This is why our Constitution is tweaked and fine-tuned, adjusted and still dynamic. This is how the Law of Moses was intended to be, as well.
In Christ's day, he pointed out so many of their inconsistencies and hypocrisies that we can only imagine the full extent of his mission to open their minds. Their party line was fundamentalism, as if they followed the law to the last dot and dash, but, in reality, they had amended their laws to suit themselves.
He reminded them of this based on Moses' compromising by allowing them divorce, and their rigid interpretation of Temple commerce, of diet and sabbath day rituals.
They strained at gnats and swallowed camels whole.
Orthodox Jews have an almost bizarre culture of eating, derived from one line in the OT which warns against boiling a kid in its' mother's milk. This admonition was supposed to teach them about cruelty, not on how they need to have separate plates for dairy and meat.
Where is it written? Vie id es geshriben?
It's easy for me to pick on the Jews, since they rejected the most obvious goal of their ancestral religion, which is the Messiah. No?.
After that fall off the cliff, there is no where to go for me and I'm outta there.. They threw the baby and the bathwater out the window and have a washtub to fill with arbitrary rules and rituals, in my opinion. Sure we have a rich cultural heritage, as Jews, but, what exactly do Jews believe? Who is HaShem? Who is the Messiah?
I come from an Orthodox family from way back, and it is infuriating to hear them invoke the name of the Messiah, "Yeshua HaMashiach" which is Jesus Christ, but, to them, it is just another of God's many names. The Book of Daniel is closed to them. The Book of Isaiah and the Prophets are one-dimensional poetry, and I weep inside.
Too much emphasis is given, in this current era of churches, to our physical sex lives, in my opinion. It is madness, in fact, because, while there are some practical ordinances to behave with moderation and decency in the Bible, most of the words which relate to sex, like adultery, harlotry, etc., pertain to spiritual affairs.
. Whether I tried to live a celibate life or slipped and had sex, or even married, I knew in my heart, and believe to this day that I needed to be forgiven for my sins, and this is the message that all of us share.
The Kingdom of God is not predicated on sexuality or preference, but, faithfulness to God. Adultery and fornication in the Bible, the way it was written, is very different than we've been taught and how it has grown to become it's own laws, much like the laws of eating off a dairy plate to the orthodox Jews.
Here's the premise of my studies in a nutshell. Sexuality and love are paired exquisitely with the biblical instructions on worship and our personal relationship with God.
We've become paranoid, neurotic, and perverted about our own sexuality because we've taken the basic lessons of love in our religious texts and used them to monitor our sex lives, not grasping that the spiritual love with God is where we need to have purity, loyalty and devotion.
When God through the Prophets admonished adultery, harlotry, and used principles of virginity and faithfulness, it was meant to guide us to how we can love HIM. When he punished the Hebrew nation, it was because of spiritual harlotry and adultery of their religions, mixing what was sacred to the Jews, given by Moses and the Prophets, with the things the pagans cherished, like attractive idols and practices related to devil worship. .
Israel was blessed when they swept their nation of competing religion, and established the LAW as given by Moses, with a revival of real spiritual love for what God has done for our people, and all he has promised his people. You cannot serve two masters. It is spiritual infidelity, and God will not be cuckolded.
I'm not condoning sexual immorality, by any means. God forbid I fail to express this plainly enough, but, the flesh is temporary, and vulnerable to sin, while it's what's within our hearts which will be measured by God in the end, and what we've done with our gifts. I tremble when I perceive the actual power of God, and how weak I am. I am a slave to his grace recognizing my own vulnerable nature. I seek to be perfect, sublimating so many desires and thoughts into the submission of Christ's love and discipline, but, it's never 100% perfect.
If there's anything that frightens me above all, it's the spiritual adultery in our churches. It's so insidious that few would scarcely believe they are partaking of a pagan ritual in it's original form. Everything from Christmas to Easter is tainted, and so much more that it's terrifying. Our churches are not far from the adultery of the ancient Hebrew people who chose what they enjoyed from the pagan world, and gave it a Jewish spin.
Yet, it seems that in the current church age, sex is heralded as the main component of sin. I've been saddened by this. Sure a dissolute person is not honoring their body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, but, the flesh cannot please God, whether in complete abstinence or in diet, or will.
Solomon was the Einstein of the ancient world, and he truly loved the God of his father David. When he ordered and built the construction of the Temple, that mystical Shekinah cloud of presence graced him, and thus, he saw the Lord, face to face.
We learn that he had literally 1000 wives, and this began his downfall. But, it wasn't his sexual generosity that doomed him, but, his wives who compelled him to partake of their pagan customs that doomed him. As bright as he was, he became corrupt by reason of too many philosophies, many of them divulging the dark secrets of the demonic world. These things are better not understood by man. There is no joy in them, but, he was drawn, like a moth to the light.
Jesus said, that "if the light in you is darkness, how dark is that light." We always tend to read these kind of warnings as messages to other religions, but, in fact, they are given to us, and we need to constantly attend to them.
We're going to get things wrong. This is okay. But, we have to learn by comparing precept to precept, line upon line, a little here and a little there, so that the light of the truth will not be a fractal, but, a landscape in our minds, and the light in our minds will shine in the darkness.
Fornication in the Bible is predominately paired with idolatry, pagan rituals and customs. Adultery in the Bible is almost always in relation to these same tenets of faithfulness to the Torah. Virginity is symbolic of purity of spirit.
In Revelations, when the 144,000 virgins are taken to the throne of God, it can be misleading because it states, "These are those who are not defiled by women." This can confuse the carnal mind, but, if read, in context to the great "whore" Jezebel, in the same book, it can be more easily understood to be the flip side of a great spiritual precept.
In fact, the infamous Whore of Babylon is a metaphor for the church, as read by those who have grasped the wisdom of these symbols.
For some reason, instead of being able to comprehend spiritual love, spiritual fornication and spiritual virginity, we have reduced these profoundly important symbols into physical qualities that pertain to our material lives. For some reason, even the most pious will stumble and fall into the deep pit of spiritual adultery, without recognizing it.
It is painful to share my thoughts about such cherished things as Christmas, and many other Christian customs, whose origins are purely pagan, and not acceptable in the canon of instruction, as given by God to the Prophets. These are the sexually wicked things that God cares about, in my opinion. God, who created sex, isn't as pruriently offended as we are towards procreation and physical love. Being a virgin isn't of any consequence, unless our hearts and minds are equally as pure.
Over the next few months, as I continue to develop my themes, I will work on them through my blog. This helps my process of writing. I pray that God will grant me the mercy and grace to understand with a clear and sober mind and present the right message, without my own errors and my own carnal understanding clouding my views. I pray in Christ's Name that I get it right.