So, I felt that I needed to put a disclaimer up here. I posted about war a few weeks ago (I actually tried to post it way before I talked about baptism, but I did it from youtube and it didn't post until much later... and it posted like 5 times... I erased the extra ones). That seems to be the single most read post of my blogging career and it sparked a lot of good and challenging comments (I was challenged on some of my thinking which is always a good thing). One sort of pet peeve is when folks don't comment under their own names or profiles because it is tough to engage in dialogue when that occurs, but I made a decision when I started this blog that I would welcome any and all comments. I promised myself that I wouldn't censor anyone's words, even if they were negative and/or insulting, they were their words and what they wanted to say. If I am going to hang or fly by my words, so should all of us.

That being said, I felt the need to clarify some of the intent behind my posts. I am writing about things they way (in my view of the world, history, scripture, etc.) they ought to be. I fully understand the way things are but I am attempting to call for something better. I am by no means the first to do this. There are people of great spirituality and intellect that have influenced (and continue to influence) me. I, as all of us, have been shaped by those around me. I hope (and in many cases know... as much as it is possible to know) that they have been iron and that I have been also so that the iron is sharpening iron as scripture says. I am trying to communicate the way things were meant to be AND could be again. I am doing this by suggesting some radical shifts in thought (at least radical for me) and behavior. 

BUT, understand this... some of what I say is extreme and I know this. I do speak in hyperbole sometimes. For example, by suggesting that there is no such thing as evil (as I did in the war post) I very much meant that evil is not an entity in and of itself, but I did not mean that there are not actions we can describe as evil. My point was that evil is not a noun, but it can be an adjective. The way I worded it all, however, was very harsh and hyperbolic. 

I say all of this so that anyone who reads my thoughts here (which I guess I still don't understand why folks read them... but I guess I read other people's thoughts and that we can all challenge each other) understands that, while I might not give much power to the way things are, I very much understand them. I am simply trying to show that all of this was intended to be unbelievably different. I am also trying to show that it was not meant to be inconceivably different. When Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God, I am convinced (as much as one can be convinced yet remain open to the idea they may be wrong) that He was speaking of the Kingdom He was restarting and that He was leaving it to His followers to see this Kingdom realized "on earth as it is in heaven." So, while I do include some hyperbole in these posts, it is intentional. 

Oh, and the most awesomenest, topest, amazingly amazing book I am reading now is Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright. I highly recommend it for it deals with realizing the Kingdom here and now. I am also enjoying Jesus for President as well. It is from this book that I want to quote as an ending to this post. The authors are quoting the early church father Origen (who some condemn as a universalist although I think that is a bit of a mischaracterization because he seemed to teach that Jesus was the only way, truth, and light... he just seemed to believe that all of creation and every human ever would one day acknowledge that fact... he never really said, as far as I can tell, that that meant they would all live in the Kingdom of God for eternity, but that could be inferred and perhaps was his point... one that I don't necessarily disagree with but am still working out) who is quoting a critic of Christianity named Celsus and then responding to the quote. Notice Origen's conclusion:

Celsus: "If you set aside this maxim (that of serving in the military and accepting government offices), you will deservedly suffer for it at the hands of the king. For if all were to do the same as you, there would be nothing to prevent his being left in utter solitude and desertion, and the affairs of the earth would fall into the hands of the wildest and most lawless barbarians."

Origen: "... would that all were to follow my example in rejecting the maxim..., maintaining the divine origin of the kingdom (rejecting that Rome has any claim to divine Origen... much as I reject the U.S. having any such claim as well), and observing the precept to honour the king! In these circumstances the king will not "be left in utter solitude and desertion," neither will "the affairs of the world fall into the hands of the most impious and wild barbarians." For if, in the words of Celsus, "they do as I do," then it is evident that even the barbarians, when they yield obedience to the word of God, will become most obedient to the law, and most humane; and every form of worship will be destroyed except the religion of Christ (destroyed by love and conversion rather than the sword), which will alone prevail. And indeed it will one day triumph, as its principles take possession of the minds of men (and women) more and more every day.

Even Origen spoke in terms of what was possible and spoke of the radical means by which the unbelievable yet conceivable (I know... paradoxical ain't it) can come about. Origen knew the dangers in the world... he knew that people would lose their lives in this process. But he also knew that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.

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