Tag Archive | religious

O Christmas Tree…your boughs can teach a lesson

Friends went out recently for their annual hunt for the perfect Christmas tree.  There is so much debate today about whether the word, Christmas, and it’s celebrations are politically correct for the world we live in today.  I’m not going to settle that one, but as my daughter and our woodcutter friend were collecting firewood this week for an upcoming snow in Colorado, I paused to reflect on a few things.

As Jason picked up the 8 foot logs he had cut, hoisting them over his shoulder, I was caught by the power it takes to lift this awkwardly long piece of pine and load it on the truck. Rachel and I took the less heavy ones and they were challenging.  We loaded up about a cord and I could hear my shoulder beginning to cry, “uncle!” as we finished the last few.  As I watched Jason, though, I thought how did Yeshua carry his cross down the streets of Jerusalem?  Beaten beyond recognition and craving rest and water, he walked barefoot down the pebbled street to his crucifixion.  I have had others in a bible study nail the sins of the flesh to the cross and the nails required to hold human flesh to wood…unimaginable.  I bought what looked like railroad spikes and I’m telling you, I can’t imagine having it driven through my flesh.

I have a crown of grapevine thorns hanging in my solarium and I used to keep it in a hatbox for our own protection, but now it hangs on the wall.  I have pricked my fingers or accidentally brushed my hand across it a few times and it is memorable.  But, until now, I hadn’t really put a tree on my shoulders and carried it.  I stopped in the forest for a moment to stare up at the most beautiful lodgepole pine. The bark is a silvery white and they stand so straight with branches spread out and airy and topping at about 30 feet around here.

Did he know when he prayed in the Garden that night that he would soon carry a tree upon his back and it would lift his beaten body up for all to see?  As he looked into the faces of the ones he loved, was his heart heavy for what they were also about to face?  Did he grieve when the soldiers gambled below him for the scraps of clothing removed from him?

I know I have fought many a physical battle in elementary school at the hands of those who hate something or someone different.  I survived to fight another day.  I was a frail, petite asian american and against 5 others, pretty much beaten before I began, but somewhere within me resounded a righteous anger against those who exert power because they can and use it to force others to submit to their tyranny.  Kids can be cruel when there is no authority to inhibit the confusion and anger and loneliness they feel.  Unfortunately, many are left drowning in the pool of hatred brought on my differences.

So as I reflect on the celebration many are preparing for this holiday season, I find myself so grateful that there was another who fought bigger battles, physical beatings, emotional trauma, and did not seek to understand the whys, just resting in the power of the One who sent Him and trusted Him to complete His journey despite the abusers, moneymongers, religious right, betrayers, jealous, ignorant creatures of His time.  He focused instead on those who were suffering under the rule of those in power:  the broken, the sick, the fearful, the grieving, the pure, outcasts, the condemned….all of us who are seeking in this world for the one thing that will fill a void that is always there no matter what gifts, lovers, money, friends we have.  He walked as one of us and I am so grateful He calls me His beloved.


Husband and Wife (Ish & Isha): Spiritual, Religious, or Secular?

Paul states in I Tim 3:15 that he is writing so that we should know how to conduct or bind ourselves in the (or to the ) dwelling of God, the called out ones of the living God, the pillar (support) and steadfast (immovable) truth.

It is with this mindset, I begin the task to provide revelation given to me into the mystery of the spiritual union of man and woman.  I will refer to them in the Hebrew terms, ish (man) and isha (woman).

It is evident in the secular world as well as the ‘religious’ world that the union of a man and a woman in the context of marriage forms a oneness; in the religious realm, it seems to be assumed that if the two partners in marriage claim spirituality then they are entering into a blessing by God of their union. How misguided we are in this ignorant assumption. It is evidenced by the divorce rate in both the secular and religious that there is a lack of wisdom regarding this “sacrament of marriage”.

Two religious partners do not guarantee a spiritual union.

Many times we enter into marriage with good intentions only to find that we are not in agreement or understanding of what those intentions are. Our definitions or understanding of “love” are not defined biblically, and it is assumed sufficient when the years pass and the union is deemed successful by the passing of those years; but, quantity does not equal quality in our spiritual walk or the union of two in marriage. 

So the strength of the union is rated quite shallowly on the appearances of holiness, but lacking the power of the Spirit of Holiness. Often, there is a lack of passion in both partners in their love for the Lord and how that love is to be manifested in the relationship. Women are taught to be receivers only and ride in the wake of the man whose authority they are under.

The evidence is manifested in ‘ministries’ and churches or synagogues where women are seemingly content with staying in the back behind the curtain or serving in areas where religious men are content in the structure where women work and men organize and manage the affairs of the community of God.

In this book, we will explore the validity of the traditional structure of the religious communities of our time and the potential that we are mirroring the philosophy of the world around us and sacrificing the unity of God’s fullest potential in our deception and ignorance. We have accepted the status quo of the religious systems of our time without question and in turn, although perhaps ignorantly, oppressed the greatest manifestation of God’s glory.

This is a journey not unlike many others in history; one that will challenge the norm, ripple the pond of tradition, and perhaps cause emotions to stir to a flame. As a follower of the Messiah of truth, I feel that there can be no compromise when truth is at stake. You, as a reader, may challenge these revelations but even in doing so, truth will resound; and perhaps, in some, that still small voice will be stirred and a hidden treasure revealed that causes them to rejoice in what God originally intended for His Beloved.

Surveying the present and past opinions, literature, and information of biblical scholarship today, from the novice to the scholar, it seems there is a void of information on what the definition of a spiritual man and woman, ish and isha, truly are. To some these terms are foreign; to others, common. There is limited discussion of these roles, in regard to their original etymylogical structure, and modern use in the Hebrew language, but the references are rarely indulged fully beyond a general mention. Portions are mentioned in the Kabbalah, biblical dictionaries, and works on gender roles within the “church” or bible or Torah. The concepts of what the ish and isha represent are expounded upon but limited in their perspective of portraying these vessels by their gender only, respectively. My belief is that the simple literal revelations may be veiling a deeper revelation of something that is foundational to the One who created us in Love, with love and out of love. So we begin with the revelation of the ish/isha and the mystery of this union in the body of Christ as it was in the beginning.

We are to be the proclamation of immovable truth by how we live within the house of God.  The called out ones,”ekklesia”, are the dwelling of God and His truth is the pillar by which we are able to stand steadfast.

We are commanded to live without wrath (coveting) and dissension (debate) but to nurture and cherish those whom we are given the responsibility to nurture.   The word nurturing embraces the picture of nursing a newborn. A newborn is not able to obtain its own food, but it is provided by the one who nurses it. Paul uses this term when referring to how to raise our children in the admonition of the Lord and in the way a husband should behave toward his wife as his own body, not persecuting it, but cherishing (maturing) and nurturing (fostering) its growth. Paul makes the logical assumption that since the man would do this for himself, he would extend the practice of that teaching to the wife he has joined himself to in the same manner.

In an encounter with the Pharisees on divorce, Yeshua states that in the beginning, He who created them made them male and female and that is why the man leaves his mother and father and the two become one flesh. He reiterates they are no longer two, but one flesh, “basar echad”. They are as the Body of Christ, the anointing, a unified being in the flesh, echad (unity)…one heart, one mind, one spirit, one baptism, one forgiveness, one Lord.