Can the rhetoric

When the consumer closes in on the news these days it is not uncommon to hear references to truth and lies. If human beings are sinners then they are also liars. The scriptures testify to this fact. All of us – no exceptions – are failures when it comes to performing God’s will.  When I go to my Bible I do not expect to be a rhetoric miner.   I do not expect arguments. I go in fully expecting to derive a sense of stability and reliability.  I expect the truth and nothing but.  Exhibit A is the aversion to putting Christ above all authority as the Scriptures affirm.  All the prophets, grind to a halt as the ultimate authority. All the prophets of all the nations cannot be reliable. It dos not take much examination to can see their shortcomings and shortsightedness. “True religion” is rhetoric we can do without.

If you take the wisest man, Solomon, or the leading authority in the Jewish tradition you will most likely hang your hat on fearing God and keeping His commands. You will also be ignoring Moses in his most humble and honest moments.  Solomon did not ghet past the first demand of the Mosaic legacy: you cannot have more than one “god”. Hear Moses now and feel the click.

I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him (18). It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. (19)

Deuteronomy 18:18-19

The disciples of Christ understood this.  Listen to Peter’s embrace of the message from Moses.

Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed to everything He says to you. (22) And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ (23)

Acts 3:22-23

You can only paint yourself into a corner with your commitment to the law and ancient practices.  Christ is of no effect to the person who confesses confidence in his own compliance with the instruments of condemnation and prejudices that are wholly unattractive and futile.

PEOPLE WHO REFUSE TO OWN THEIR HISTORY

If people insist that there are individuals in the North American context who have never demonstrated the vileness of our founding national leaders then there is little reason to hope for a just society. Canadians who do not see the criminal streak in Canada’s settlement of the land and confederation will die due to their rhetoric and pass on the lifestyle to their children. Even in our most cospopolitan areas there lurks all the vilest specimens of humanity. The genocidal outrages and the attraction of military-dominated governments are bound to continue. It will take an unprecedented bit of courage and universal agreement to end the silly rhetoric of nationalists and conservative types. Deny, deny, deny. People who refuse to admit their history can be expected to engage in trashy rhetoric, misguided protest, education that leads away from facts, and they will unload their passions on the victims of bad policy.

Say one thing and mean another

Magicians get the upperhand of their audiences by distracting with their left hand while their right hand is attracting with the featured illusion. Rabbits out of hats and streams of eggs from nowhere come to audiences by means of harmless deceit. It is no harmless trick to say “Christ is LORD” and introduce an audience to someone else. It is a delusion most deadly and one that is on the menu every day via television and radio. Many books and booklets perform this sleight of hand trick. It a case for a u-turn in reflection on the realities of . Our favourite visionary or author might is irrelevant if we expect a genuine experience of the spiritual life. There is no comparison between Christ and any other person in the universe. No prophet, priest, king, judge, military strategist, warrior, counsellor or vigilante, can be mistaken for the Saviour of the world.

Synthetic religion, built by the adversary

All the comparisons of religious practices may result in a sense of solidarity, but synthetic religion or spirituality is a trap because a lot of religious pracice has nothing to do with values that transcend culture and tribe. By religious practices I do not mean procreating, pursuing carreers, building economies, and finding a new planet to call home. I do not mean placing human life at the bottom of our priorities. If every person cannot have undivided respect from people employed to protect and save lives the religious practice is the brainchild of an adversary to humanity.

Legit activities that cover up spiritual emptiness

A truly virulent example of covering up the truth comes out in an observation of the prayer habits of the scribes. They use a dedicated process or experience to change what people think about their obsession. Scribes and priests were interested in property and the evidence of this was the transformation of the temple from a hoiuse of prayer into a marketplace for enriching themselves. The practice of hiding instead of being accountable and honest is as old as humanity (Genesis. 3:6, Genesis. 3:7, Genesis. 3:8).

And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces (Mark. 12:38)
and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, (Mark. 12:39)
who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” (Mark. 12:40)

Guilt proven beyond a shadow of doubt

Thoughts and prayers from hogtied politicians

The thoughts and prayers of idle politicians while citizens are being murdered must revolve around (i) the revenue that homicide with guns generates (ii) the incitement of individuals who relish the ability to commit mass murder and escape judgment by killing themselves (iii) the votes funnelled towards the party most vocal about the right to bear arms and (iv) the capacity to terrorize people with unnecessary and excessive policing.

Even some of the oldest practices are lying distractions not spiritual values

  • “replenish the earth”
  • observing schedules of harvest
  • memorials of national history
  • values based on hard work
  • “let’s go home” does not mean cemetery-bound

We are sure that Christ saves people from death and that fact cannot be twisted into an existence of uncertainty. Saved people are SAFE (sesosmenoi) [Ephesians 2:8]. The horrors of saying one thing and meaning another jumps at us when we hear “Taser, taser, taser” and the follow-up is Glock and death. We, witnesses to the Word-made-flesh, hear “life, life, life” all the time and keep cringing when the follow-up turns out to be death and condemnation via the law of sin and death. If only we would remember WHO is doing the saving and HIS record of never losing a patient.

April’s watery wonder

April 21 2021

Many Canadians do not feel like winter is over after Easter/Passover. That is near the spring equinox. We have come to expect snow, even a major snowstorm, in April. Well, here it is. Snow and chilly temps in April’s last week lead to 50 motor vehicle accidents since 5 am. today. Typically we let down our guard when summer looms large. The weekend of “May two-four” usually marks the collective sigh of relief in Ontario. That is a month away. So let us take a cue from the signs on earth, in particular from Minneapolis, MN, and remain alert. We humans are not the only entities with a sense of humour. The thermometer reads -6C. Stranger things are bound to happen.

Who has seen Mr. and Mrs. Frost?

Aww!

Honour to the parent!

Saturday April 17th 2021 is a day to remember because I am hearing that police forces are lining up to refuse to enforce government orders, in what seems to be a move to be in solidarity with people who, we assume, are conscientious and zealous for human rights and Canadian Charter rights. These are the same police services who have savagely and heartlessly documented the lives of Canada’s First Nations, Black and brown peoples, and people using cannabis, without any sign of respect for humanity. I can hardly wait to see what the legal tempest will be, because this segway by the police services will bring into question the universal call for honouring the parent.

The context of science and passion

All across the world the examples of steady progress in the fight againt coronavirus seems to come where populations have followed the simple actions recommended by medical professionals: mask up, protect your 2-metre bubble, stay home, and wash your hands. Ontarians have been persistently flattered from the beginning of the pandemic by the Premier about how great and cooperative we have been. A boldface lie. Ontarians have been carrying on their lives as if nothing needs to change. That, in my opinion, explains why we are where we are in April 2021. Ontarios gather in large numbers in protest and in parties, they cross municipal boundaries to shop, they infect their children and want them to continue in in-person education, they jockey to be designated as essential services or exempt from anti-covid19 measures, and they chafe against restrictions to religious gatherings. In general western nations have infected the world with “protest over protect”. Ontario cannot pass the buck on to the lack of vaccine supply (from the Federal government).

I only hope that the bluster of ignorance, the rejection of science and workable wisdom, the passing of the blame buck, and the readiness to play the role of litigant-hero, so rampant in the United States and the United Kingdom stays in those countries and dies quickly. Police services trying to appear humane and conscientious without doing what they are solemnly authorized to is a moment like New Year’s Day, two-headed, challenging a look forward or a look backward. It is a moment that will have to be explained in the light of the command for honour to the parent.

Make no mistake

Some people count to three and still screw up. Others do not count at all. They plant a knee on your neck and calmly watch you die. Raw and unvarnished bondage and violence has their distinct looks. What messenger of God pulls out the wrong covenant to talk about eternal life? None. If the subject is pardon for sin and friendship with God there is no accident that people are talking about Christ and the Cross. When a police officer yells “Taser! Taser! Taser!”, pulls out her service weapon and kills a man it is what it looks like. Make no mistake.

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We grieve with the family in Brooklyn Center. We do not accept “accident” as an explanation for choosing the wrong tool. We know that lethal force has a certain look and feel. Lethal force sits on the right hip and the respect for life sits on the left hip. Having trigger-happy neighbours is one thing but police officers who chose to use force on Black people at the drop of a hat need to be purged from law enforcement. Let it begin with the pastors who also have been yelling “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” and filling the air with the stink of human futility.

When our words get jumbled or we seem tongue-tied there is no shame, but when we say “egg” and pick up a venomous snake there is justice locked out and good sense buried deep in . Who drinks vinegar instead of water? How many white people have a gun in their face when they are pulled over by law enforcement? It is not an accident that a law enforcement officer takes a life, says “Holy ****. I shot him” and gets due process. Justice for Daunte Wright must be swift and unequivocal and cleaning up the services of dishonest departments begin in earnest.

Like that 20-year peace officer there is a host of spiritual guides, teachers, preachers and motivational speakers who need to get their act together. People can see through the spaghetti throws and the soft-pedalling of Jesus’ victory, deceptive theories about God and justice, and golden rule philosophies. That is no accident. That is damnable malpractice. People who are mindful and properly motivated and prepared make no mistake.

​QUESTIONS FROM THE PROPHETS

Why leads many of the questions we love to pose and answer because from one advantageous view we obtain a license to opine, define, and undermine. Ask a lawyer a closed question and you are likely to get a five minute answer. It is a dreadful predicament that theologians and political leaders are in the same boat. If you have recently watched a parliamentary or legislative session in one of our democratic nations you probably have wondered if the person being questioned is hard of hearing. Let us consider “why” questions as doorways to finality.

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Lamah (for what = why) appears 19 times, the most famous, I think, being our Lord’s query from the cross, “Why have you forsaken me?” Other forms of the same question appear as follows: al meh, from Balaam’s donkey (Numbers 22:32 + another 11 times) and maddua 70 times)

Isaiah records other why questions (three maddua formats and one al meh format)

maddua

  • Isa 5:4 ​What more was there to do for my vineyard,that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? ESV2011
  • Isa 50:2 ​Why, when I came, was there no man;why, when I called, was there no one to answer? Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, by my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a desert; their fish stink for lack of water and die of thirst. ESV2011
  • Isa 63:2 Why is your apparel red, and your garments like his who treads in the winepress? ESV2011

al meh

  • Why will you still be struck down? Why will you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. Isa. 1:5

Here are Isaiah’s “why” lamah questions, laid out by category.

I. SACRIFICES

The answer comes immediately – I take no pleasure in the levitical system.

“What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. Isa. 1:11

II. SLANDER

God is asking “Why slander me?” The answer is understood in the question against the known facts of God’s attributes of knowing and seeing all things and never-failing justice for all.

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”? Isa. 40:27

O LORD, why do you make us wander from your ways and harden our heart, so that we fear you not? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage. Isa. 63:17

III. SELECTIONS (life choices)

The correct behaviour is for poor spending practices is declared, “eat good foods and delight yourselves in rich food”

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Isa. 55:2

IV. SHOWCASE (work and wages)

The people attached “show value” to fasting and not the natural benefits, while fasting with regard to the benefit of others’ might get God’s attention

Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. Isa. 58:3

I have learned that asking why can end up in some very surprising places. One of the saddest why questions is “Why me?” I includes questioning the connections to one’s mother, friends and all the potential contributions both seen and unseen. When God asks why we have to step up without spin, self-defence, or supposed secret compartments. Answering a “why” is weighted towards a “z”; final answer.

I commit myself

Now that a peace officer has done with his knee what deranged potus45 suggested he could do with a gun on a city’s main drag Americans are quite likely going to sleepwalk through their next opportunity to set their nation of a righteous path and end their navel-gazing and self-aggrandizing. The United States has settled for a right to kill Black people by outlaws like the KKK, by police officers, and by ordinary citizens who assume the right to be judge and jury, the latter carried out with regularity under the guise of some version of self-defence. Do I exaggerate? If I were a United States representative I would be committing myself to introduce legislation to pay all the families who have lost someone to lynching and murder by peace officers, to pay all the African villages from whence the slaves for American industry were taken, and to compensate all the American familes who have been kept in the dark about fair wages, the truth about the epidemic of innocent bloodshed, and ending the carreers of all rotten law enforcement officers.

No-one should underestimate the disgust that violence is to God. Moses wrote that violence was the trigger that set off the judgment of the flood. Violence was one of the offences in the holy city in Judah that resulted in the destruction of the temple and the exile of the people of Judah.

Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

Gen. 6:11-13

One needs to see how the simple terms of prohibited behaviours (kill, sleep-around, and steal) are not enshrined in secular law. Most governments only care about homicide under certain circumstances. It is not illegal to commit adultery in a state where a religion does not dictate the terms of secular law. Stealing happens under our noses thousands of times each day. For example, the hard-earned cash of citizens is constantly being siphoned off by merchants of motor vehicles, fuel, and common necessities such as food and clothing. It must be a hard sell for spiritual people to be legislators when their equally conscientious colleagues are willing and eager to create loopholes, for example, for lying and dirty energy. A preacher, a politician, a political pundit, or a television commentator can lie through his teeth daily but lying to the FBI will land a person in considerable trouble.

It is a burning shame that well-equipped governments do not have a handle on violence. Humans have the right to be free from deceit and violence, and to be treated as precious, according to Psalm 72 verse 14. Way more shameful, from my perspective, is the number of people who, in the name of caring in the pattern of Christ the Saviour, just continue to preach feel-good messages and fantasy victories over the common human conditions. It fits perfectly: the knee on the neck of anyone gets no play in American or Canadian churches, but the dream job and the mortgaged life does. If I did not hope that Derek Chauvin pays the price for causing George Floyd’s death I would not be human. If there is no in the next few weeks a spate of firings of rotten peace officers we will know that American justice is a spoiled child’s game. God’s justice will not be satisfied with a bipartisan or multipartisan deal, and he can smell a jury’s bias before it shows up. Justice can be anything people want in a democracy, and democracy is a dirt-eating snake pretending to be a spotless lamb, a most ridiculous act and cast which I commit myself to continue exposing.

Tripping through innocent blood and massacres

In the year 2021 we are witnessing millions of lives snuffed out by a virus. Alongside this there are civilian homicides, many of which are multiple fatality events using guns designed for the battlefield. It is not likely that we are going to see American or Chinese weapons of war turned into farm implements, providing food for earth’s billions.The prophets’ vision seems more likely to be realized by Israel and Russia and her allies.

Instructions and Warnings

That innocent blood be not shed in thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance, and [so] blood be upon thee. Deut. 19:10

[If] ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Jer. 7:6

Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place. Jer. 22:3

Wise Reflections

And shed innocent blood, [even] the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. Ps. 106:38

A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, Prov. 6:17

Cases and Convictions

Moreover Manasseh [king of Judah] shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD. 2Kgs. 21:16

And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon. 2Kgs. 24:4

Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts [are] thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction [are] in their paths. Isa. 59:7

But thine eyes and thine heart [are] not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do [it]. Jer. 22:17

Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence [against] the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. Joel. 3:19

Then he said to me, “The guilt of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great. The land is full of blood, and the city full of injustice. For they say, ‘The LORD has forsaken the land, and the LORD does not see.’ Ezekiel. 9:9

The global expectation from three prophets

Isaiah says, He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. Chapter 2 verse 4)
Joel says, ​Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, “I am a warrior.” |(chapter 3 verse 10)
Micah says, He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations far away; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore; (chapter 4 verse 3)

Let the bloodthirsty continue their rampage in the name of national and personal self-defence, but a constitutional right to bear arms cannot be justified when innocent people, children in school included, lose their lives at an alarming rate. For the impenitent there is only rage and anguish. What goes around comes around! What the Scriptures say about the mighty generals and the engine of their wealth must be soberly considered