Friday, February 12, 2016

Good News

Jesus Is NOT the Savior or the Whole World?

God, please grant me the grace to believe that Jesus is NOT the Savior of the whole world. Help me to understand that He fails in His mission to seek and save the lost. Grant me the grace to stand up in front of the church and repent of the wicked idea that every knee will bow (in worship) and every tongue will confess (sincerely) that Jesus Christ is Lord. I’m sorry that I single-handedly manufactured crazy ideas like You wiping away all tears, doing away with all pain, and that there is ultimate universal triumph over sin and death. Grant me the grace to submit to orthodox traditions and believe sin will forever reign in some dark corner of the universe. Amen
Alice Dean Spicer

Sunday, February 7, 2016


"Our Father will find a place for everyone to fit. All of us will have a sweet spot in His kingdom where we can flourish beyond our wildest dreams. "

" I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave." - Reagan

This is a great quote I came across as I was reading about the Challenger disaster.  But I'd like to ask you to consider who the future really belongs to.

The future belongs to our Father and all of us.  That's right, all of us.  Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 15:28, God's future is "all in all." (1 Cor.15:28)

I would go as far to say that the concept of "all in all" is already a reality because what God has spoken as his word, is what God will get, and the Christ is even now planted in the soil of all men. The expansion will be breathtaking when the Seed is called forth.

 I am grateful that God loves and includes even the fainthearted.  My own heart has fainted so many times because of trials, trouble, trauma, sin and death. I was not able to believe because of the overpowering variables of life that had overtaken me.  It is in these times we need grace and mercy. Our Father is there to give it to us. No exceptions.

I've been told in my former religious conditioning that God requires me to believe or I am not included. It's a system of believe or else. Most don't realize that God is the one who gives belief. There have been many times in my walk through here where God did not give me  belief and I found myself sitting deep in a trial or suffering. I'd have to admit and tell you that I was not at all sure what was going on and the pain of the situation overwhelmed me. I'd even say I wasn't believing all that much at those times.

Our Father is better than a system of "you do for me and I'll do for you."  God doesn't exclude us because of our doubts when the trials some. Think about the good people you know who show you kindness and love when you are struggling with belief. But God won't? This is what religion has taught us and it's a tragic smear of our Father's character that requires a change of mind. I've changed my mind, meditated on this at length and searched the scriptures to find God is better than us, not worse than us. 

"If we believe not, yet he stays faithful: he cannot deny himself." (2 Tim. 2:13)

Our religious systems requiring expectations, beliefs and behaviors of us are being updated by the mind of Christ and will eventually be as outdated as a rotary dialed phone in a smartphone world. Because of the mind of Christ, which is even now entraining the corporate soul, love will ultimately change us to realize who our Father is and we will become like him.  This will come from the inside out, not the outside in. We will all realize we are included because Christ lives in us and as us and we will all realize we are One as God is One.

I am so thrilled with the words of Paul to Timothy about God's will for all men and their inclusion in God's future.

"Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."  (1 Tim. 2:4)

Jesus told us his Father loved even his enemies and even God's enemies will be at his table with us. Of course they will no longer be enemies because love will have changed them.   David said "you prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies."  I guess David saw what were once the enemies of God sitting right there with him, too.

I'm grateful no one will be left out. I've been excluded before because I didn't measure up to the tribes idea of success, or I just wasn't able to meet the expectations. God will find a place for everyone to fit. All of us will have a sweet spot in His kingdom where we will flourish beyond our wildest dreams.

  "Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. "  (Isaiah 9:7)

To explore and discover the truths I have just written will expand your horizons beyond a few believers being included. God's love for all and his plans for all is our future and it's even now well-underway.


This is one description of suffering I can offer to you. Suffering is when we lose control, and because we do not have control of much at all in life, it is essential that we understand that suffering will be a part of our lives. Denying this truth is to live in delusion.

 When everything is going your way and you’re getting everything you want – if the seeking mechanism is working for you – why would you question your reality? But what tends to happen is, sooner or later life stops going your way! Then we find out that we are not in control of life and that we can’t have what we want. This whole seeking mechanism starts to break down and we suffer.

When you are suffering you might start to ask, ‘Is this who I really am? Do I really need all this stuff I believe I need?’ Can you see the absolute necessity for suffering in our lives as it propels us to ask the deeper questions we would never ask in good times? Self is being revealed and dethroned.

- Richard Rohr - What The Mystics Know


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Mimetic Theory & The Scapegoat

"Jesus’ death reveals that the foundation of culture was based on a murder and a lie.  His resurrection reveals that God didn’t want sacrificial victims to atone for another’s sin, but rather that God expects each of us to take responsibility for our own feelings of shame and envy."
Rene Girard, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, began developing his theories over 40 years ago, while researching the great stories in literature.  He wanted to know what made these stories great and he discovered that they had some similarities.  He further began to research the rituals and  mythologies of primitive people.  He noted the same common structural properties in those stories.  These similarities in the world’s mythologies and rituals led to the development of his theories of mimesis and the scapegoat mechanism.

Rene Girard’s Mimetic Theory is based on the principle that human beings are mimetic creatures.  We imitate what we see in others. In fact, our desires are not actually our own, but desires we have copied from others.  The more we imitate each other, the more alike we become.  Increasingly, we vie for the same desires and we become rivals. The more human beings imitate each other, the more individuals become alike.  Distinctions between individuals are blurred as they mirror each other.  The boundaries between individuals which keep order, begin to disintegrate. Increased rivalry creates increased violence and the blurred boundaries threaten to destabilize the social fabric.

"primitive man stumbled upon the solution to this threat: the scapegoat."

In Girard’s theory, primitive man stumbled upon the solution to this threat: the scapegoat.  By placing the blame for all the hatred and distress on one individual or group of individuals, the community’s violence becomes polarized toward the ones being blamed.  These responsible individuals become the scapegoats for all the bad feeling in the community. By expelling or killing the scapegoat, order is restored and the community becomes peaceful again. The single act of sanctioned violence, becomes like a vaccination against the disease of chaotic, out of control violence.

It is critical that the members of the community be completely convinced that the scapegoat is guilty for this mechanism to restore order.  That is why the scapegoat must be accused and slandered before he is killed, but after the killing, everyone attributes the restored order to the scapegoat’s sacrifice.  In this way, the sacrificial victim becomes responsible for both the violence and the peace in the community.  He becomes “the sacred”.

Girard proposes that world mythologies and religions hide the scapegoat mechanism within the sacred rituals of sacrifice.  These rituals are a re-enactment of the very first killing of the sacrificial victim through which the first community established order.  In a sense, these ritual sacrifices serve as “booster shots” to inoculate the participants against disorder.  With order established, a culture can thrive.

"By placing the blame for all the hatred and distress on one individual or group of individuals, the community’s violence becomes polarized toward the ones being blamed.  These responsible individuals become the scapegoats for all the bad feeling in the community."

This founding of a culture through the killing of an innocent victim, which was then justified through the telling of a story in which the victim deserved to die, is why Girard says that the foundation of culture was based on a murder and a lie.

To summarize, in Girardian Theory there are two principles: Mimetic desire and the sacrificial victim.

There are five themes in mythology which point to a ritual murder of a scapegoat.
  1. Chaos, lack of order, lack of differentiation, blurring of boundaries.
  2. A scapegoat is slandered and accused.
  3. Evidence is presented that the scapegoat is guilty
  4. The scapegoat is convicted, killed, or banned.
  5. Order is restored.
As Rene Girard continued to examine the mythologies of primitive peoples, he noted a difference in one particular set of stories.  The stories from the Hebrew and Christian texts seemed to have a slightly different perspective than those of other mythologies.  In these stories, the scapegoat was not always guilty.  In fact, these stories were told from 180 degrees the opposite perspective of the other world mythologies.  They were told from the perspective that the sacrificial victim was innocent. 

From the stories of Abraham and Isaac, Job, Joseph and many others, we can see that these victims were falsely accused.  Girard explains that the New Testament culminates in a story about the most innocent victim of all: Jesus Christ.  There is no question of His innocence and it is this unquestioned innocence that unveils the scapegoat mechanism, which had been used since the foundation of the world to restore order, as an injustice. The apocalypse, which means “the lifting of the veil” is the revelation of things hidden from humanity since the beginning.

Because order had been established through an unjust murder, Jesus’ death reveals that the foundation of culture was based on a murder and a lie.  His resurrection reveals that God didn’t want sacrificial victims to atone for another’s sin, but rather that God expects each of us to take responsibility for our own feelings of shame and envy.

Jesus knows that we are mimetic creatures and he asks us to imitate Him, not as rivals but as a model to aspire to.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Next Steps

There are very few who will sit with you in  the depths of your pain and loss, who will say "tell me how you got here," and listen intently to your story. Very few.

But then there is always the next step you have to take. When you can't find the bottom, when your energy is gone and you've lost any clarity to move forward.
That next step is huge because you have expectations for yourself. And then,  there are the expectations of others that can so plague you.
The next step might be rest and restoration. It might not be agreeing with the world's clamor for you to produce and get back in the saddle. One has said, "more work and less contemplation."  I know there is a place for that. I also know there is a place for reminding yourself you are a human being, not a human doing.

And that is when you find out who your friends are that love you. They are not only there for you, but they are ok that you are there with them.