Tuesday, February 21, 2012

the Bride

  We search the scriptures for the defined church and find that it is a Bride. Yes- a  noun that means a woman about to be married. Here we have a masculine text where often the apostles describe God as being a masculine creator , Yet - God describes himself as I am. 2 Corinthian 2:14 "Now thanks be unto God, who always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the fragrance of his knowledge by us in every place" (KJV) and in other versions it may not say his but refer to him. In the bible it always speaks of the brethren or sons as Gods chosen. Very few instances does it speak of daughters or sisters in a reference to the unity except when referring to the whole church as a bride. So here we have the Bride which is to come , the Bride of Christ that we await and Jesus describes the event as a wedding in his parable of the wedding feast. If we are awaiting such a bride , as it is clearly stated in Revelations and in Jesus own words, then why is the church hierarchy made of mostly men.
 There are some who would define the church in a physical sense, you sit here another sits there. Actually the church is spiritual and God is spirit. We can only define things in sense of our own vocabulary, we can never define God - since God is omnipotent. We can only make references within our own realm of knowledge. We are describing a time of great happiness, a feast which the ultimate joy is shared. This time the scriptures best rendering is a Bride , in a life we know it is the ultimate procession to see the Bride coming down the aisle. Here comes the Bride we sing and the bride is so lovely.
 Does the Church need woman? Most definitely - without woman there can be no church. Their feminine nature  is essential to be the Bride. It bothers me when women are brought to a lower stature because of the religious traditions institutionally  keeping them from holding offices and teaching. That is why I avoid such churches , some would like to go back 2000 years and re-instate slavery and oppression to woman. The bible was written in a time when there was slavery and woman were oppressed that is the reality. The apostles often wrote in the spectrum of the times they lived because we are in the 20th century I write in the spectrum of our time. Society has evolved since biblical time we do not need to go back to slavery and woman do not need to be oppressed, it is the secular blinders they wear not spiritual glasses. If the church were perfect the wedding would have already happened over 2000 years ago. It took many years of evolution to bring about in society the changes we have now and some parts of the world are not yet evolved. Women are still oppressed in  50% of the world and Yes- because of traditional religious beliefs. Religion not spirituality is oppressing woman.
 Is the bible correct , is it sound in its treatment of woman? I will say it was written over 2000 years ago, it is still the best book for spiritual teaching and good for instruction. We just need to read it with spiritual and not traditional glasses.The Holy Spirit fills women , gifts them spiritually and has done so even before the times of Christ. Without woman there would be no children,  no Bride.
-amen. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Comparitive Faith

 Why is there Doctrine? Most denominations and christian faiths have a statement of beliefs which I think is great. It is good to know what others stand for or believe before becoming a member or supporting their organization. Perhaps this open statement of faith will help you in making a personal statement of faith. For I believe the church we attend or belong to will not be as important as our personal faith commitment. Yes- we need to find others who believe as we do to encourage us, it is nice to belong to something.
 I have found as we start to compare faiths, those that believe they are right and everyone else is wrong be wary. Because no one knows the hour or day the world will end, and we certainly are continually seeking knowledge of the things of faith and spirituality. We will never be all-knowing therefore it is better to be objective and discern things as they come. When we get to the point where we start shopping for religion or Christianity on the internet, just like we are shopping for a piece of luggage it may be time to take a deep breath and relax , deep breath -relax. You will not find God on the internet, or the TV set, or the radio.
 I was listening to the radio and found God- that sounds so magical , it may be you found something suggestive and perhaps a seed of faith was planted. Do you even know what that person on the radio believes or what Doctrinal statement  is behind the voice. I am all for evangelism but we need to be discerning and take a personal responsibility for our faith. Do not get overcome with the handsome man with the flashy suit of commercial faith. If you find a suitable church that matches close to what you believe and builds on your personal experience be content. Because you have achieved what so few have and that is contentment.
 Three things about finding a suitable place to worship.
1. Do they believe as your personal experience and the Holy Spirit has led you. Is the bible the main book for spiritual guidance. I have read the bible cover to cover and by subject at least 5 times. My    personal feelings are each time it is read new thoughts are discovered. It is very important not to just read it once. God gives us what we need for that day another day we may need something else. Give us this day our daily bread.

2. Do they have a doctrinal statement of faith that you can read and discern. Maybe they have a      complex catechism or additional books you are not at first aware of. You agree with the Nicene and Apostolic creed but not these others. That is alright , take the time to read through them - pray about whether it is something you are willing to accept and if not move on.

3. Do you feel anxious or depressed , are you being misled. Does the church not allow woman to participate and you are a woman. Does it teach prejudice , remember it is about a personal relationship with God. Self denial is not denying oneself spiritual growth and happiness.More important than all the doctrine and beliefs is that you are loved. When you leave the worship service ,  you should have less burdens, more joy and something you are willing to share with others. I remember being told that Jesus was not our friend he was God and we should fear him. I never went back there, Jesus is Lord but also a friend to me. I do not have all the answers but have joy.

peace and joy-
earl.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Faith Seed

 A person who has been in the faith for a long time and especially one who has witnessed spiritual manifestation or miracles is not necessarily the one with the most measure of faith. According to scripture it more blessed to have not seen and still believe. We see the excitement of new believers often becoming more ambitious in their salvation after making such a leap. Soren Kierkegaard who was a great christian theologian of the 1800's wrote about this in his spiritual writings. One who is coming from an objective uncertainty and makes that leap has more faith during that moment in their life than any other.
 Does this mean our faith diminishes or does not grow with time. Not necessarily but if the seed of faith is not planted in good ground and watered it will not grow. The miracle of the faith seed , is the size is  compared to a mustard seed being very tiny. How it is made to grow and is cared for will depend on its success. We cannot rely on miracles or follow them to grow to our full spiritual potential. Only faith pleases God , and this is expressed throughout history and scripture. How pleasing is it for a person who comes from objective uncertainty to salvation - very pleasing. We can sense the power of the Lord , when salvation is preached and new believers come to Christ.
 We often look for revival or pray for it in a church, we can see those that grow are those that preach salvation and have an evangelical format. The existing congregation can experience a revival if they make a leap of faith toward other uncertainties. I remember going to church a few times before the message of salvation was preached, what if I had not returned the 3rd time.
 I was starting to be uncertain of keeping my blog but then realized that maybe just one person may get  something from it. If anything it is sort of like writing spiritual  memoirs that you are willing to share. The worst thing to me is to have no beliefs at all , no faith and to not be willing to share it.
My intention is only to share and let the one who reads make their own leap from an objective standpoint. 
 quote:
 Faith is a leap to higher ground , even a flea has mastered the art.