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The Good News.. what is the Good News?

It’s something that I’ve been pondering in my heart over the last year, since the time I was reading a book by Brian McLaren. What is the good news? Is it that we’re going to heaven some day? Is it that Christ died for our sins so that we could be made right with God? That is certainly good news.. it’s great news. But is that what Jesus meant when he said “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”?

The kingdom of heaven is at hand… good news… what does it mean?

And then recently an answer came to me.  What does “at hand” or “near” mean?  Does it mean heaven is close, yet elusive, out of reach, until we get to heaven?

The adjective at hand has 2 meanings:
Meaning #1: close in space; within reach
Meaning #2: close in time; about to occur

Maybe when Jesus said the kingdom of God is at hand, he meant that the kingdom of heaven is here and now. Anything that happened in the past, anything that can happen in the future, doesn’t ultimately matter that much. In the realm of circumstances, of this world, I may be feeling sad or bored or angry or anxious. But these emotions only exist in the realm of this world, in the realm of time. In the realm of heaven, of the eternal, they lose their heaviness, their solidity, and become translucent to the light of God. And the realm of heaven is available to us here and now. It is not available to us when we’re thinking about the past (Luke 9:62) or worrying about the future (Matt 6:25-27). It is not available when we’re thinking about or debating about theology (Luke 17:20-21). Only when we are really present can we enter, and experience “the peace of God which transcends all understanding”. So how do we enter the kingdom of heaven? Surrender to the present moment. We can practice this simply by having awareness of the present moment. When we’re thinking about anything else, we are resisting the life that God has put in front of us.

Bumping Into Love

I just came across this guy’s blog which I liked:

a new life emerging
Jesus didn’t come to give us an intellectual belief…
For those who claim to be “Christian”– followers of The Way–
the way is Love, God’s very nature, embodied in Jesus.

Christianity isn’t a “belief system”; it’s a way.
Jesus came to show the way;
to be the way– and his way was Love.
to be the truth–and his truth was Love.
And to be the life– and his life was Love.

And if we truly want to know God,
then we too must walk in the way of his Love.
We too must walk in the truth of his Love.
We too must walk in life of his Love.

If somewhere along your journey you have managed to bump into Jesus,
then you have bumped into God– you have bumped into Love; better yet,
Love has bumped into you.

“And this is how you will know– by the way you love one another.”

My journey

I want to share more about my life in this blog. I still haven’t really gotten into the blogging thing fully. Initially I thought I would use it just to share some thoughts, ideas, poetry, etc. about spirituality and religion, which has been a pretty significant part of my journey lately. Especially since a few friends at my church also have blogs, it seemed a very safe place to post my abstract ideas without getting into the messy reality of my own life. I have come to the realization that it’s really hard for me to share my life journey with others, that a part of me (i.e. ego) is always putting up walls.

About half a year ago I decided to explore new career possibilities. I have been a software developer/consultant for about the last seven years. I really enjoy the problem solving and the creativity involved in developing software apps. At the same time, I don’t enjoy the isolation of working with computers more than with humans, and I have become less and less interested in business, and even technology. At least technology as the center of our life. In a world ruled by modern economics where efficiency is God, progress is salvation, this is the direction that the world is headed in, the direction that is hard to escape if I’m in the business world.

At the same time that I’ve become less interested in business and technology, I have serious questions about giving my time, mind, focus to the goals of business and “progress”. What does God want me to do with my life? In what role will I use my full potential, so I don’t waste the gift that God gave me? I know the possibilities are endless, it is only a matter of God showing the way. I have the privilege at this point in my life of not needing to make much money as I don’t have anyone to support but myself.  I also know that that a lot of necessity is imagined. We always have many more choices than we think we have. In America, many people have a lot of necessities because they feel they always need to follow what their neighbor is doing.

I look forward to sharing more about my journey in the days ahead.

Something I wrote… I guess it’s a poem of sorts

The kingdom of heaven doesn’t arrive with great fanfare, its coming isn’t greeted by camera crews. Instead it drifts in out of the blue, like autumn leafs swirling, arriving from nowhere.

The kingdom of heaven doesn’t advance through expensive ad campaigns, but instead it’s announced by the laughter of children and the smiles of the meek.

The kingdom of heaven doesn’t spread furiously like a wildfire, but instead it sprouts like humble blades of grass on the field that was cleared by fire.

You can run in search for the kingdom of heaven, but you’ll be out of breath before you can catch it! When you’re least expecting to find it, it will be revealed to you by a stranger.

The kingdom of heaven won’t be conquered by force, even though it sometimes suffers violence. It eludes violent people, the willful and proud, and opens its doors to those who receive it simply and willingly.

Rob Bell videos

Just discovered these videos by Rob Bell

I think I’ve heard about these before, but first time I’ve seen them.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Love – The Message

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies.
–1 Cor 13

A friend recently posted something that I thought was cool.. he said “to see if someone is a real friend, simply go to 1 Corinthians 13 and replace the word ‘love’ with your friend’s name”.  That made me think… have I been a good friend?  Hmmm..  You can try it with with the names of your friends, and you can try it with Jesus too.

I like reading Slashdot because there’s usually interesting discussion. In response to this news items someone commented

Well, if the Church wants to give the impression that they want to fix their mistakes and apologize for them, I think it would be better if they apologized for supporting dictatorships and benefiting from them (as they did in Spain for 40 years, for example).

They could also get rid of child molesters and stop paying (lots of) money to keep things under wraps, which obviously is not the best way to solve the problem.

These kind of news really pisses me off. A statue to Galileo 400 years late? WTF?

I often think that religious institutions are evil. I think they are like organisms, they grow and evolve and seem to have a mind of their own, a spirit of their own, even. And its spirit reflects that it is ruled by man, a creation of man, not of God. I’m sure the Catholic church would vehemently deny that it is a human institution, but even if it was originally established by God, that doesn’t mean it was always led by God since.

Of course non-religious institutions, i.e. corporations, are even worse. I recommend watching the movie The Corporation.  Here’s something from Wikipedia:

One central theme of the documentary is an attempt to assess the “personality” of the corporate “person” by using diagnostic criteria from the DSM-IV; Robert Hare, a University of British Columbia Psychology Professor and FBI consultant, compares the modern, profit-driven corporation to that of a clinically diagnosed psychopath.

And then there’s Google, whose motto is “Don’t Be Evil”, and I have to admit I like Google and I think they actually do a pretty good job at keeping with their motto, unlike many companies whose mission statement is a bunch of BS. Is it possible for an institution created by man to be good?