Grounded in truth

Skeptics question where the water of the great flood could have come from and gone to. The Bible says it was mostly from underground.
–  Genesis 7:12 “.,,fountains of the great deep… “
Now “Scientific American” magazine 12 March 2014″ reports a “Nature” article that confirms a mineral called olivine exists in Earth’s mantle in quantities that contains more water than all the existing oceans put together.

The Lord of the dance was at my wedding.

Another interesting but short-lived blog. At best that may well be what some of my readers may have thought when I stopped writing this blog two or three months ago. Well real life got busy.

I met the girl I love 39 years ago. She was the first girl I ever kissed when I was 16, We lasted a day, I spent the next 38 years regretting how we broke up and wishing I had married her. I don’t know how many times ovrr those years I cried actual tears.

I went off and lived a life that was all the things a Christian should not be. Use your imagination. Wrong sex, the occult, wrong religion, cars, motorbikes, some violence and drink, lots of diverse and very bad company and quite a lot of different chemicals too – I was a bad boy and I was good at it. I have had some incredible adventures in quite a lot of countries, meeting the highest and lowest, seeing the world in it’s lightest and darkest.

Don’t think this stopped me having three good suit-wearing responsible careers either. But nothing satisfied.

About 5 years ago something inside me snapped. I just walked out of my house and headed for town. I needed something but I didn’t know what. An unsuitable friend had once said he has a social life plan B and that it was dancing. Proper dancing not nightclubs.

I remembered his words and that night by a strange route I ended up at a peculiar tango dancing lesson which was taking place in a shop window as people walked past watching. It was interesting and exotic enough for my jaded personality and I went to tangos every week for four years.

Tango people were funky and intelligent, and dancing with pretty women of all ages but without any sexual agenda was what I needed to lead me away from the darkness toward the light. Even after a couple of months dancing I had changed deeply. My tango teacher had said at the very first lesson to “Beware because tango changes you.” God has a sense of humour and there are no coincidences – as we know as Christians, no such thing as luck – the name of that tango class is “Tango Serendipity.”

In that first two months I changed so much that I said goodbye to my old life. People who I had known couldn’t understand and I couldn’t explain because I didn’t know the reason either. I didn’t know it was God yet. He had me on his fishing line and was gently pulling me away from the dark to the light so subtly I didn’t know it.

Like an object falling, the change got faster and faster. It became exhilarating. One night what I now know was the Holy Spirit came upon me as I was driving home. All those things people say about it feeling like electricity and things, yes but you can’t really describe it.

I searched for answers. I didn’t know it was God yet. I went online to try to find people I could talk to who had the same experience of change. I wanted to avoid the corruption and bad places on the internet and I found a little chat room full of Christians where I felt there would be nothing nasty and I could talk honestly. I was not yet  knowingly a Christian but God had put me where I could learn what had happened to me and who had done it. I went there many times for a few months and chatted with some lovely people. In the end I had exhausted all other possibilities, just as my old life had tried everything except the right thing. I knew there was no other possible explanation. It was God that had changed me. I finally knew.

A few months later God arranged I should “coincidentally” have opportunity to meet the girl I had loved lost and missed all those many years ago. She had been a Born Again Christian for around 30 years. There are no coincidences. I asked her to the tango dance. I was born again, she prayed with me. We got engaged, we did it properly, I had a wonderful baptism we went to our wedding pure. In our church this last year I have so many new lovely friends. The first time I walked in there with the lady who was to become my wife I felt I had come home. One if my favourite songs now us “Come Home” by Johnny Cash.

A few weeks after that first Sunday, up on stage in that church. I gave testimony of who and what I had been and how Jesus had saved me, not because I had asked, known, or earned it, but because of His Grace and Love. I asked my love up onto the stage and proposed to her.

A year later, six weeks ago, we were married. It was a fabulous wedding with all our friends andvfsmilies. Our first dance was a of course a tango.

Jesus likes weddings. His first public miracle was at Cana. He certainly arranged my wedding! He invites everyone to His – the Church is His Bride.

So that’s why you haven’t heard from me a few weeks. I’ve been getting married, going on honeymoon to Scotland, moving house and settling in with the girl I loved all my life. Thank you Jesus my beautiful lovely friend, what words can I say…

Dance dance wherever you may be, for I am the Lord of the dance says He, and I’ll lead you all wherever you may be, I’ll lead you all in the dance says He.

Amen!

Service report

I’ve not been blogging recently because I am getting married in 9 day’s time. Yes it is a busy time. Then it’s honeymoon for 2 weeks, then move house, then maybe another big change after that as well. No I don’t mean a baby… they take 9 months and we have no idea whether we will have one or not. We’ll take what God gives on that one. My lady is the first girl I ever kissed, 39 years ago. We went separate ways after a few days and I went off into a life far from what life should be. I never stopped loving and missing her, always regretting not marrying her. 5 years ago Jesus reeled me in by His grace and I gradually discovered Jesus and was born again. By strange circumstances I had been reunited with my lady just over a year ago and the love blossomed again. Thank you Jesus.
Jesus is love freedom and the path to the best life you can have in this world and the next. No ifs no buts, I know it for sure and will tell anyone that simple truth written in my own life. God Bless you all, see you all again in a while.

Approach

Jesus is clear that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven we must become as children. Jesus is also clear that we must be born again. Becoming as a little child flows from being born again. Children are the result of births. When Jesus said to suffer the little children to come unto Him, He gave us a subtle reminder that bebirth is necessary to become again as His trusting loving children because the only way to approach His Father’s Kingdom, is through Him, the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6)

Cogito ergo… none!

Assuming the observer affects the observed (recent work in quantum mechanics challenges this or at least tries to explain/trivialise the effect away as being an artifact but let’s keep the accepted model for a while) if matter arises from consciousness (probability wave collapsed into existence) then consciousness did not arise from matter. If there were no observers matter could not arise so the mind (observation) of God was necessary for the universe’s matter to be created and His constant observation sustains it (not ours). Somewhat as the Bible says.

God speaks things into existence. Words express thought. It seems reasonable that God thought all the arrangements necessary for the universe, then expressed them as the universe.

There is likely and strangely more to it than that – a relationship between the numbers and meanings of the Hebrew alphabet and fundamental qualities of the universe may exist and if explored could bring much fundamental insight into physics – at an instrumentalism level.

So “I think therefore I am” is a trivial statement of existence compared to “He thinks therefore we are” that allows all of us – even Mr Kant who would say it doesn’t – such navel gazing.

The message of the Bible of course moves quickly on from how we came to exist to what a wonderful purpose we should put that privilege to.

Numskulls

This is about the end times. Signs and symbols seem to all around hidden in plain sight. Never mind freemasonry street layouts in Washington DC, just check out the world right in front of you.

All those happy skulls on handbags purses kids’ toys skull-shaped vodka bottles.

Is it a coincidence that the trend seems to have been boosted  by a guy called Damien with his bejewelled skull art?

This collect a skeleton model magazine I photographed is typical of the multiple representations of the skull I can see around my local area.

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In London, England last week I saw a building that seemingly has red horns and what look like cameras in the part that looks like the eyes of a horned beast.

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Check out the vodka bottle with what looks like a Dragon in it.

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Look at the de-personalised  images where people have their heads obscured by spheres – bingo balls on heads, the phone company advert ironically behind bars that I photographed in London, I’m sure you can find more, just look and see.

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More obscured people subsumed to the robots at this televised award show I snapped.

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Images of barbed wire and war were a feature too.

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Not quite the holodeck yet, but along with the robot checkouts tellers this one has replaced another human. Arnie makes an interesting skull in the Terminator movies. I think those movies are quite prophetic.

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Interesting symbols on this game controller huh?

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Heavy metal

The Bible says:
…so that no one can buy or sell who does not have the mark of the beast, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. It is six hundred and sixty six.

The Bible says:
The weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and sixty six talents of gold.

Wisdom. Who was wise? – Solomon. What do you need to buy or sell? – Gold. What was the number of Solomon’s gold? – Six hundred and sixty six.

What is the mark in the hand? It is the gold in your hand – money. What is the mark in the head? – The love of money.

What does the Bible tell you about the love of money? – (It)… is the root of all kinds of evil. …

The (probably deliberately) hidden origin of the word “Dollar” is “Talos” – a Talent, a measure of gold. If valleys are your thing etymologically however, you could consider the valley of death for a little irony.

Jesus cannot be captive to money having no need of gold to buy or sell because He owns everything.

He showed by metaphor the value in the fish he helps us catch (men) by paying the tax, which He said explicitly did not really have to be paid, with the coins He had His followers find inside the mouths of fish. He showed us money is meaningless in His realm but that we have value in us to Him.

The earthly dollar debt will not be redeemed by men, it is too big as anyone with wisdom can calculate, and so the beast will wreak its havoc, but the redemption that actually matters is not counted in money, and it is a price already paid in advance in full by Jesus.

What use all the gold on earth when just thirty pieces of silver bought so much more? Money might be handy but it will buy you nothing on judgement day.

Improving reception

The Bible has subtlety. Tiny remarks can be overwhelmed by the main event and easily be dismissed in the mind of the reader as unimportant, but actually the information in them is there to convey something deeply important by subtle means.

There is debate amongst Christians about how the Bible should be read – literally? as metaphor? as a secular history? as a blend of accreted different things translated and edited over generations by many with motives?

I suggest all of the above.

I’m getting married in a few weeks time so have a particular interest in the story that contains Jesus’ first sign – the water into wine miracle at the wedding in Cana.

Reading the NRSV version it notes in the verse John 2:9 that the Steward did not know where the wine had come from although the servants who had drawn the water did. Yeah obviously, minor point, pass over move on nothing to see here… Whoa! Back up a little. WHY mention something so obvious?

Who at the wedding knows where this wine came from? Not the Steward, not the Bridegroom, but the servants do. Jesus only reveals Himself here to the lowly, those who serve.

He points up the inadequacy of the important people who have run out of wine by providing embarassingly better wine to them, and conspiratorialy lets those who serve see this, letting the servants know who’s side he sits on politically (with a lowercase p).

Doubtless the lowly servants were having a hard time dealing with a drunken wedding party short of wine – the story even mentions the drunkenness of wedding parties and the supply of wine.

So the story tells us about Jesus – His sympathies and pointed subtlety in how He handles a situation with Grace and kindness but gently making a point to all.

There is of course a depth of other meaning and symbolism in the Cana wedding story – water, wine, transformation, gifting in secret, the Lord’s provision, the importance of marriage – dig as deep as you like. I’m not unaware of the more usual and perhaps more important aspects of the story, but I am saying don’t miss out on the back-story atmospherics – God put them in your Bible for you for a reason. You can get to know our Lord better through them and discover better what a clever gentle funny meaningful cool guy He is.

I love patterns. The story of Jesus has a meal at the beginning where water turns to wine, and a meal at the end where wine becomes blood. Even as literature the story of Jesus is exquisite. He lived it so elegantly.

My Fiancee knows Him even better than I do, and He is certainly invited to our wedding.

Can you feel the force?

Colossians 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

I believe love is a force. Like the strong nuclear force or electromagnetism. I think there is more to love than the emotion, the good intent, the empathy we as humans feel. I think what we feel is like what God feels/produces. As we are made in His image I think we can feel it although of course He feels it so much more. I think God IS love, that ultimate force by which all things consist.

Being before all things I think means He existed before anything we would recognise as a universe. That by Him all things consist means that it is His continuing will that holds the universe in existence – His force, His will, which I believe is manifest in a physical force which creates and effects aspects of all matter and energy that exist in some of the ten or eleven dimensions we don’t normally perceive.

An aspect of us that is fundamental to us (in my opinion) that I think exists in those usually unperceived dimensions is our souls. I think the force of love can be accessed by us, working through our souls, through faith His grace giving us the permission to work in those dimensions through Him. I think that’s how faith moves mountains and other miracles happen.

So I don’t think miracles and souls are incomprehensible crazy notions produced by unscientific and gullible illogical minds as perhaps some militant atheists might assert. I think God created a complex physical universe that we don’t yet understand but a lot of it, including souls and miracles and a force called love are neither crazy notions nor beyond some measure of grasp of scientific understanding.

Many insights into the physics of reality can be gleaned by study of the Bible. It truly is His work and He has put it here to help and guide us in all things, including science.

Fish out of water

Water and fish are huge themes in the Bible. Right back there in Genesis they start.

There is something valuable in the fish as it appears in the Bible. If you needed a clue that we can find something of value in the fish just notice that Jesus told his disciples to go and get coins from the mouths of some fish.

He made it clear that the particular value in those specific fish was of no consequence and He was only paying lip service (my weak joke) to the tax so as not to offend. That was quite a pointed subtlety because of course the true value in the fish is not earthly gold, for as Jesus essentially indicates, He already owns the whole universe so has no need of gold. The lesson is that the value in these fish represents the souls in the men that the fishers of men will catch, that will be given over to the Lord as the tax is given over to the earthly authorities.

The pre-Christian fish symbol (of female genitalia – turn sideways nose up (my rude!) to see (yes it’s a deeply rude but funny semiotic joke that I do get – I wonder who first told it? Umberto Eco I think would have got along with that guy) – was appropriated and renamed as the acronymic form of ichthus and used as a symbol by the early underground church.

Scratching the fish on a wall as graffiti was a religious-political act of rebellion against Rome that could probably get you killed if they found you doing it.

Making the sign of the fish by crossing fingers was a way the Christian rebels could recognize each other silently and recite the assertion that ichthus represents.

The crossed fingers also echo the cross where He died to save us, so if you do cross your fingers “for luck” think not of luck for there is no such thing as luck, but think of our Lord by acknowledging what the ichthus means, say your hope in a prayer and thank the Lord for all the Christian martyrs who gave  and continue to give their lives in His service.

No such thing as luck? Indeed no. Luck would require chance which would require some underlying true randomness. True randomness cannot be created mathematically. Every ‘random” number or event is really just pseudorandom. God did not make an unplanned universe and it does not allow random. Random would have to be demonstrable and to do that it would have to match a rule and to do that it would have to defeat its own nature philosophically and logically. Random is an oxymoron and cannot exist. That’s one deep objection to a spontaneous Godless Universe by the way but I’ll leave instrumentalism to another day.

In Jonah’s tale we see a fish swallows a man who is not doing God’s will then it spits him out and the man then does decide to do God’s will. The fish (Christianity)  swallows you then upon baptism you are pulled from the water like a fish (Jesus makes fishers of men) ready to do God’s will. You are washed clean and filled with the living water, ready.

Habbakuk says evil catches men like fish but God reminds him they are storing up trouble, The Devil’s fishing will not bring you anything even as useful as a few small coins in the long run. Better to fish as Jesus teaches, on the other side of the boat.

If you graffiti a fish on a wall, you of course then walk away from it. There is a little symbolism you might like to think of in that act. In walking away from the fish you have graffitied, you echo the footsteps if the disciple who left the abundance of fish (that Jesus had helped him catch) on the quayside to go follow Jesus instead.

So when you see a fish in the Bible, remember the fisherman who put it there is subtle, look deep into it for value, and make sure you catch on to what He is telling you, and if you see a real modern ichthus graffiti on a wall, praise the Lord for His message of rebellion against evil still lives in the hearts of His Church.