CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT SO JOIN US IN THE SCRUM WITH JESUS AT THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE

The line of scrimmage and the scrum taking place between good and evil moved when the forces of light drove the forces of darkness out of heaven and cast them down into the Valley of Tears (Revelation 12:7-12) (Luke 10:18). The Son of God followed them in hot pursuit. He invaded the Valley of Tears to recruit an army from amongst humanity to help him deliver the coup de grâce to the serpent and his fallen minions. The angels had won a glorious victory in heaven. Now it was humanity’s turn to step up to the plate. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, Jesus mounted a Cross to initiate the ineluctable process of events that would defeat evil. He set off a chain reaction. He is recruiting us to continue the work that he initiated. Are we willing to join Jesus in the scrum at the line of scrimmage facing down the enemy? Are we willing to stand with Jesus - toe to toe - shoulder to shoulder - cheek to jowl - as a comrade-in-arms fighting together against evil as part of a glorious band of sisters and brothers? Are we willing to make the sacrifice - to pay the cost of victory out of our own pockets from our own limited resources? Do we want to help God save the universe? In the process of saving the universe, we save ourselves (Matthew 16:25) (Matthew 12:30).

 

THE COUP DE GRÂCE

The coup de grâce is delivered to the serpent and his fallen minions only by keeping our hearts filled to the brim with love. Jesus demonstrated that his heart was filled to the brim with love for us on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. He loved us even though we tortured and killed him. Now, that is love! Love does not get any better than that! It is in our self-interest to follow him on the trail that he blazed.

 

The Line of Scrimmage is the location where Christianity is done

The line of scrimmage is wherever remediation of the toxicity of the soil of the Valley of Tears is taking place. Remediation takes place when the soil of the Valley of Tears is amended with love. When we amend the soil of the Valley of Tears with love, there is the line of scrimmage. There is the scrum. Evil is sowing the seeds of evil. The seeds of evil, however, do not grow in the soil of love. Therefore, Jesus and the followers that he recruited are amending the soil of the Valley of Tears with love. In this way, evil is put in check. In this way, we are helping Jesus to deliver the coup de grâce to the serpent and his fallen minions. The action in the war between good and evil is taking place in the scrum at the line of scrimmage. If you can’t find the line of scrimmage, you are not doing Christianity. You are doing something else but you are not doing Christianity.

 

THE FINGER OF GOD POINTS TO THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE

Where is the line of scrimmage in the Valley of Tears? Where are good and evil engaged in active combat? The finger of God points to the line of scrimmage in the Valley of Tears. It locates the line of scrimmage. The finger of God is the landmark that God placed in the Valley of Tears to point to the line of scrimmage. The finger of God is the Cross of Christ. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, God planted the Cross of Christ to serve as a landmark that pinpoints the line of scrimmage for us. Here evil tried, but failed, to infect Jesus with evil. Here evil tried, but failed, to dislodge Jesus from the level of our loving God and demote him to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. Here Jesus refused the demotion. This was Jesus’s line of scrimmage and is our line of scrimmage as well. Evil is testing us by crucifying us. Our crosses have teeth. They chew us up into bits and pieces. How will we respond to the test? Will we fall as Adam and Eve fell? Or will we rise as Jesus rose? Evil reveals whether our hearts are filled to the brim with love (Ephesians 3:17) or empty of love. The seeds of evil do not grow in the soil of love. They do, however, grow in a heart empty of love. Love is toxic to evil (Ephesians 3:17). Love smothers evil as water smothers fire. Evil cannot reproduce itself in us when we fill our hearts with love. Love inoculates against evil. When our hearts are filled to the brim with love (Luke 17:20-21), evil does not reflect back (Matthew 5:38-40) or pass through. Love stops evil dead in its tracks. In scientific terms, love is an insulator not a conductor of evil. Moreover, the albedo of love (Wikipedia) is zero.

 

Start small. Slowly build up your strength. Follow the little way. Tackle first the little evils - evils your size - before you take on the challenge of the big evils. Refuse to let evil infect you with evil. Do not reflect evil back to the evildoer. Do not transmit evil to our neighbors. Inoculate yourself against the disease of evil by filling your heart to the brim with love. Imitate Jesus. Jesus loved us even though we tortured and killed him.

 

Love turns the Valley of Tears into paradise. “What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God." (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756).

 

GOD IS RECRUITING HEROES NOT BOOKKEEPERS

When faux Christians argue that God wants compliance with a stultifying codex of byzantine rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole scoff at them. Tell them that God’s goal for us is not compliance but heroism. God wants heroes like his heroic Son. Nothing less. He wants heroes in the real world here and now busy fighting evil by refusing to let it reflect back or pass through. He is not interested in bookkeepers tracking spiritual debits and credits in order to render an account in the hereafter. The war is being fought here and now. Don’t keep the books. Fight the war. Join the fray. Mount the Cross. Fill your heart with love.

 

THE LIFE PRESERVER

The Valley of Tears is the font that holds the evils in which we are baptized. In the Valley of Tears, we stew for a lifetime like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine. There, God lets us ferment until we are ripe. Our predicament in the Valley of Tears is dire. The Valley of Tears is as foul as Eden was fair - as hostile as Eden was hospitable. As we pass through the Valley of Tears, we eat the bread of adversity and drink the water of affliction (Isaiah 30:20-22). The rod is not spared on the children of Adam and Eve in the Valley of Tears. Spare the rod and spoil the children (Proverbs 13:24) (Hebrews 12:5-11). Crucifixion precedes Resurrection. Baptism precedes rebirth. We are first baptized in the Valley of Tears before we are born again into the Kingdom of God.

Riding on a cross - alone - without an army - with no weapons but love (1 Corinthians 1:25), Jesus invaded the Valley of Tears. Make no mistake. He did not come to extricate us from it. Only Sister Death extricates us from it (Canticle of the Sun) and she waits until we are ripe. Nor was his purpose to turn the Valley of Tears into a better, more hospitable place for godless people to live. God wants to turn godless people into People of God.

Jesus invaded the Valley of Tears to show us the way through the evils of the Valley of Tears. He blazed a trail through it for us. He invites us to follow him through Valley of Tears on the trail that he blazed. The trail is the only shortcut through the wilderness. It is the easy way not the hard way. It is the path of least resistance. THE TRAIL WAS BLAZED TO MITIGATE OUR DIRE PREDICAMENT IN THE VALLEY OF TEARS NOT TO AGGRAVATE IT. He mitigates our dire predicament in the same way that sugar cubes dilute the bitterness of a cup of bad coffee.

Since Eden, God became a stranger to us (Psalm 69:8) (Exodus 2:22). Nobody follows a stranger (John 10:5). We haven’t taken the claims of a stranger seriously since the serpent testified that we would become gods, without God, in the Valley of Tears (Genesis 3:5). We can be duped by a stranger once, not twice. Our gullibility has limits. To remedy our ignorance about God, God dumped knowledge into the Valley of Tears - knowledge about God. A revelation about God was released into the Valley of Tears on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The knowledge illuminates the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. What was the revelation? What knowledge of God was released? On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, God verified the genuineness of the Love Note that he sent to us. To rescue us from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears, God sent us a Love Note. Imagine that! The Messiah that God sent to rescue us from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears was a sissy, wimpy Love Note! Couldn’t God do any better than that (1 Corinthians 1:22-23)! Not only did God send us a Love Note. God verified that the Love Note was genuine by letting us put the Love Note to the test (Luke 4:12) (Deuteronomy 6:16). The Crucifixion was the test; the Resurrection was the results of the test. The Love Note survived the test. God’s love for us survived the evil that we did to him. Wow! We are now in possession of the results of the test. As a result of the events that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, God is no longer a stranger to us. Jesus commandeered a cross, the agent of our woe, to show us the nature of God - to put on a demonstration of divinity. The ‘knowledge dump’ puts us in possession of the raw materials from which we can approach perfection in our understanding of our God.

Jesus is the cup of love that runneth over. From his heart, our hearts receive a transfusion of love. The transfusion of love is invigorating. It vivifies us. It brings the dead to life (Luke 15:32) (John 3:3). Love begets love. According to the law of symmetry, love propagates itself, like a wave, from lover to beloved. "We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4: 19). “What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God." (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756).

JESUS TOSSED US A LIFE PRESERVER TO KEEP US AFLOAT AS WE UNDERGO OUR BAPTISM IN THE EVILS OF THE VALLEY OF TEARS. The life preserver is love. Love has the property of buoyancy. It turns our deflated hearts into flotation devices. Love keeps us afloat in the rough waters of our baptism in the Valley of Tears (Matthew 14:27-31). Save yourself. Cling to it. Cling to it as a hungry infant clings to his mother's breast (Isaiah 49:15).

THE SEEDS OF EVIL DO NOT GROW IN THE SOIL OF LOVE (Ephesians 3:17). Love is toxic to evil. Love smothers evil as water smothers fire. Evil cannot reproduce itself in us when we fill our hearts with the soil of love.

The sole purpose of Christianity is to wage war against evil in the Valley of Tears. The only way to wage war against evil is by cultivating the soil of love. The business of Christianity is seminal. Christianity plants the seeds of love (Matthew 13:31-32) into the hearts (Luke 17:20-21) of the children of Adam and Eve. The seeds turn into trees so that, in the orchards of Christianity - the gardens of the new Eden -, many can enjoy the fruits of love (Mark 4:20).

My sole prayer for my children and your children is that their hearts be filled with love - filled to the brim with love. In this way, evil does not infect them and they do not infect their neighbors. In this way, the disease of evil cannot spread. In this way, our children pass through the Valley of Tears on the level of our loving God rather than on the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast.

 

Our Resemblance to God

We are made in the image and likeness of God . He endowed us with the capacity to love. The greater the love that we hold in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God. A saint is a child of Adam and Eve who bears an uncanny resemblance to God. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" . When we fill our hearts to the brim with love, we perfect our resemblance to God .

 

ARE YOU PRIVY TO THE CONVERSATION?

The Crucifixion and the Resurrection engaged in a conversation. A beautiful, symbiotic dance of question and answer weaved its way through his bloody wounds to bind the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together into the conversation, an interrogation to be precise. It is the most apocalyptic conversation that has ever taken place between us and our God since Moses and God conversed at the burning bush on Mount Horeb (Exodus 3). Are you privy to the conversation? Can you articulate it? Any claim you make to being a Christian is false unless you understand the conversation and can articulate it. The conversation is the epicenter of the earthquake that is Christianity. It reset the world on a new foundation - a foundation of love.

In the Crucifixion, we interrogated Jesus. We gave him the third degree. We shouted our sharp questions at him with lash, thorns, nails and spear. Who are you, Jesus?' 'Identify yourself!' ‘Are you for us or against us?’ 'Friend or foe?' The evil that we did to him at and about the Crucifixion punctuated the body of Jesus with bloody wounds. His bloody wounds were question marks. They marked a mystery. 'What would his response be to the evil that we did to him?' At the time that our evil opened bloody wounds in his body, the response that they would trigger from him was a mystery to us. We did not know what his answer would be. We did not know our God. Our God was a stranger to us. The reasonable expectation was that he would react as we would react. The evil that we did to him would trigger his reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution. "An eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" (Exodus 21:24.)

In the Resurrection, Jesus illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. He demonstrated the radical difference between creature and creator (Isaiah 55:8-9). Sotto voce, Jesus whispered his gentle answer back to us. Thankfully, he did not answer the evil that we did to him in kind (Isaiah 55:8-9). He did not give us a taste of our own medicine. He changed the tone of the conversation (1 Kings 19:11-13). Evil tried, but failed, to jump the gap between us and him. It did not dislodge him from the level of our loving God and demote him to the level of the most hideous and miserable of loveless beast. He refused the demotion. Evil tried, but failed, to reproduce itself in Jesus. Love is toxic to evil. The seed of evil does not germinate in the soil of love. His love for us was the prophylactic that stopped the propagation of evil dead in its tracks. His love for us did not fade as we tortured him and did not die when we killed him. His love for us survived the evil that we did to him. His radically asymmetric answer to the evil that we did to him is the blessed fruit of his love for us. Because his most Sacred Heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us, he was able to say, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). Love turned the atomic bomb of retribution, retaliation and revenge into a dud. The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Furthermore, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even the evil we did to him could budge it. His love for us is indestructible. By not answering the evil we did to him in kind, He, ipso facto, wordlessly declared that he is for us not against us - that He is our friend not our foe. Our God is our almighty lover.

Our God is no longer a stranger to us. During the conversation, we put our God to the test (Luke 4:12) (Deuteronomy 6:16). The Crucifixion was the test; the Resurrection was the results of the test. We now are in possession of the results of the test. We now have the raw materials from which we can develop a perfect understanding of our God.

 

The Earthquake that Reset the World on a New Foundation

Christianity is the earthquake whose epicenter was located on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection at a place called Armageddon. At Armageddon, a violent collision took place between Jesus and the evil we did to him . The violent collision was bigger than the Big Bang and larger than CERN's Large Hadron Collider. The magnitude of the earthquake was so great that it blew the needle of measurment off the Richter scale. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, Jesus reset the world on a new foundation - a foundation of love. Jesus is the cup of love that runneth over like the dewfall. Evil tried but failed to contain it. "And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not" . The aftershocks of the earthquake still rumble across the face of the earth. The earthquake of Christianity still causes us to tremble .

 

WHEN JESUS PAID US A VISIT, HE BROUGHT US A GIFT AND SHOWED US HOW IT WORKED BY USING IT HIMSELF

Jesus did not knock on the door of the Valley of Tears empty-handed. When we heard his voice and opened the door (Revelation 3:20), He gave us a gift. And he showed us how the gift worked by using it himself.

The gift was not a byzantine codex of rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole. It was not a system of spiritual debits and credits for which we render an account to God at the threshold of the next life. The gift was advanced, alien technology. It transforms us not into bookkeepers but into heroes - heroes who stand shoulder to shoulder - cheek to jowl - with Jesus - as a comrade-in-arms fighting together as part of a glorious band of sisters and brothers. - facing down the enemy - in the scrum at the line of scrimmage of the violent collision between good and evil - waiting to take a bullet for our neighbors - willing to pay the cost out of our own pockets of delivering a blessing to them or of lifting a burden from them.

The Son of God did not transport and demonstrate pie-in-the-sky, head-in-the-clouds technology. He transported and demonstrated down-to-earth, practical technology. We can use it today, not just tomorrow, profitably. It is relevant to this world not just to the next. The gift mitigates our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears. The gift lubricates the wheels of our escape through the evils of the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of death and into the promised land.

Furthermore, the technology is platform agnostic. It works whether you are a Roman Catholic, other Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Pagan, Atheist, Saint, Sinner or something else. It is open source technology. It is catholic in the broadest sense of the word. No religion has a monopoly over it.

What, exactly, is the gift?

Jesus hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from our crosses. Evil tried but failed to dislodge him from the level of our loving God and demote him to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. He refused the demotion. His refusal stopped the propagation of evil dead in its tracks. Evil did not jump the gap between us and him. Love was the prophylactic that prevented his contamination. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. Love is the advanced, alien technology that Jesus recommends to us. Moreover, He did not just lob his recommendation at us from a safe distance. He was so confident in the technology of loving our way through adversity that he did the most remarkable thing. He entered the fray. He joined the scrum. He put himself in the middle of it. He did not just tell us. He showed us. He donned the jet pack and flew to show us that we, too, can fly. What a crazy daredevil this Jesus was! Jesus paid us a visit to show us the best way to make our escape through the Valley of Tears. He blazed the trail through it. While we tortured and killed him, He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He invites us to do likewise. Therefore, do not try to blaze your own trail through the wilderness. Follow Jesus on the trail that he blazed. Cling as Jesus clung, hold tight and refuse to let go of love, evil’s invincible foe. Only love kicks evil’s ass (John 3: 20-

 

The Seed of Evil does not grow in the Soil of Love

According to the law of symmetry, evil begets evil. Evil propagates itself, like a wave, from evildoer to victim. The seed of evil, however, does not germinate in the soil of love. Jesus, therefore, wants to build a firewall in the gap between evildoer and victim to stop the propagation of evil dead in its tracks. He paid us a visit to start the construction of the firewall with the soil of love. Construction of the firewall is the priority of Christianity. Christianity needs construction workers who know how to continue the work that Jesus started. Only love begets love.

 

Evil tried, but failed, to reproduce itself in Jesus. Love is toxic to evil. The seed of evil does not germinate in the soil of love. Love is the ecosystem in which evil cannot take root.

 

Evil tried, but failed, to dislodge Jesus from the level of our loving God and demote him to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. He refused the demotion. His refusal stopped the propagation of evil dead in its tracks.

 

Evil tried, but failed, to jump the gap between evildoer and victim - between us and Jesus. Jesus had erected a firewall in the gap that repelled the jump. The firewall was built out of the soil of love.

 

THE MESSIAH THAT GOD SENT TO RESCUE US FROM OUR DIRE PREDICAMENT IN THE VALLEY OF TEARS WAS A SISSY, WIMPY LOVE NOTE

Do you understand what Christianity is all about? Here is a synopsis.

The forces of light drove the forces of darkness out of heaven and cast them down into the Valley of Tears (Revelation 12:7-12) (Luke 10:18) The forces of darkness were evicted but not defeated. The war was unfinished. But, even in war, God maintains his sense of humor (Isaiah 55:8-9). He put his sense of humor on display in his choice of the Messiah who would deliver the coup de grace to the forces of darkness - to bring the war to its conclusion - to put the last nail into the serpent’s coffin. To us, God’s choice of Messiah was a joke (1 Corinthians 1:23). Our expectation was that God would dispatch a powerful military general armed to the teeth riding a tank at the head of a vast army to do battle against the forces of darkness (Revelation 12:7-12). Instead, God dispatched a Love Note. The Messiah that God sent to win the war was a Love Note. Yes, that is right - a wimpy, sissy Love Note. Isn’t the appointment of a Love Note as Messiah an absurd, comical caricature of an invasion and of our omnipotent God (1 Corinthians 1:18)?

Armageddon (Revelation 16: 16) took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. At Armageddon, Jesus and the evil that we did to him met in a scrum at the line of scrimmage. They squared off against each other in a violent collision. The violent collision was bigger than the Big Bang (Big Bang) and larger than CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It was the climax of the great war between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. From the violent collision, incandescent truth erupted that illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. On the battlefield of Armageddon, we launched a freight train of evil at him. He saw it coming (Luke 22:42). Remarkably, he stood in its path. He did not flinch. He did not cower. He did not jump out of the way. He took evil on the chin (Isaiah 50:6). He stood firm and, by standing firm, stopped evil's progress dead in its tracks. He suffered and died but evil did not jump the gap between us and him. It did not transmogrify him into the most hideous and the most miserable of loveless beasts. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and did not stop loving us. He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive is the indisputable proof of his power. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us is the indisputable proof that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is also love - a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love (Isaiah 55:8-9) (Psalm 8:4-8) (Jeremiah 31:3).

The Love Note did not invade the Valley of Tears at the head of an army (Matthew 26:53). He invaded to recruit an army. Moreover, he did battle at Armageddon unarmed - with no weapons but love. What human general would invade the Valley of Tears as Jesus did - alone - riding a cross - without an army - with no weapons but love (1 Corinthians 1:25)? Bravery doesn’t get any bigger than that!

Jesus is the Love Note. He is the expression of God’s love for us. He is God’s love for us incarnate (1 John 4:8).

God composed a LOVE NOTE to us in the Incarnation, delivered it to us in the form of a baby at Bethlehem, verified its genuineness (Acts 17:31) in the violent collision between Jesus and the evil we did to him at and about Calvary, and celebrates its triumph in a victory party whenever a priest says a Mass.  We are invited to participate in his victory parties - to celebrate the bloody wounds with which God sealed his victory.

What exactly was the victory? What was the coup de grace that Jesus delivered to defeat the forces of darkness? God’s enemies tried but failed to empty his most Sacred Heart of its love for us. God’s enemies tried but failed to dislodge him from the level of our loving God and demote him to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. Jesus refused a demotion. His love for us survived the evil we did to him.

What type of literature is the Word of God (John 1:1)? The Word of God (John 1:1) is a Love Note - a Love Note from God to us. Wow!

After Armageddon, we have entered the age of dénouement. The Love Note deputizes us to continue the work that he started - to continue delivering the coup de grace to the forces of darkness. He deputizes us as his Love Notes. We are commissioned to continue the mission of Jesus. Evil needs to be mopped up. The seeds of evil do not grow in the soil of love. Love smothers evil as water smothers fire. No quarter (Wikipedia). Our job is to refuse evil a place in our hearts (Luke 17:21). Evil cannot pass through or pass back. Our job is to be the end of evil. Nothing more; nothing less.

 

SAVING THE UNIVERSE

THE PROJECT IN WHICH GOD INVITES US TO PARTICIPATE

God wants us to become heroes. Nothing less than heroism is God’s plan for us. Riding into battle on a Cross, Jesus invaded the Valley of Tears to invite us to find our place with him in the great firewall of Christianity. He wants us standing by his side - shoulder to shoulder - cheek to jowls - facing down the enemy - toe to toe with evil - as a comrade-in-arms fighting together as part of a glorious band of sisters and brothers. He wants us fighting with him at the line of scrimmage in the scrum in the war against evil. Jesus wants us actively participating in the fray (Matthew 25:14-30). Christianity is not a spectator sport. God does not want us watching as a bystander from the sidelines.

To join Jesus in the great firewall of Christianity, we must become building blocks of love. A building block of love performs two functions: 1) doing good and 2) absorbing evil. Evil begets evil. In accordance with the law of symmetry, evil propagates itself, like a wave, from evildoer to victim. It jumps the gap between them. A building block of love bravely stands in the gap between evildoer and victim. It stares evil in the face. It does not let evil either pass through or pass back. It traps evil. It scrubs evil from the environment. It makes evil disappear. It stops evil from reproducing. It kills it. Evil is a contagion. Only the great firewall of Christianity built with building blocks of love can stop the spread of the contagion - can contain the disease.

However, be forewarned. The work of saving the universe is not easy. To stand shoulder to shoulder with Jesus in the great firewall of Christianity - to join him in the work of saving the universe - requires that we be willing to pay out of our own pockets the cost of absorbing evil and doing good. The cost can be exorbitant (John 15:13). God wants us to take a bullet for our neighbors as the Son of God did for us. He wants us to pick up the tab for them.

Who in his right mind would want the job?

Most of us - given the choice - would prefer to save ourselves rather than save the universe. We are selfish. We love ourselves more than we love our neighbors. We live our lives at the level of the most hideous and miserable of loveless beast. However, we can do better than that. God knows that we can do better than that. It is contrary to our self-interest to live our lives at the level of the most hideous and miserable of loveless beast. Our happiness requires that we rise up from the level of the most hideous and miserable of loveless beast. To rise up, we need a flotation device. When we fill our hearts to the brim with love, they become flotations devices. They lift us up from the level of the most hideous and miserable of loveless beast to the level of God. Love deifies us. Deification is the process of increasing our resemblance to God. We are made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). He endowed us with the capacity to love (Luke 17:20-21). The greater the love that we hold in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God.  “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.“ (John 13:35).

What is God’s plan to fill our hearts to the brim with love? How will he do it? What are the steps in the process?

The law of symmetry also holds that love begets love (John 4: 13-14) (John 10:10). So, first, God will fill our heads with the knowledge of God (Isaiah 11:9). We need to know that God loves us dearly. We need to know that God is head over heals in love with us. We need to embrace the fact of God’s love for us. "We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4: 19). “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:35-40). Then, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself“ (Matthew 22:35-40). The process of deification proceeds from God loving us, to us loving God, and thence to us loving our neighbors. Via this progression, we ascend from the level of the beast to the level of God.

Do you want to help God save the universe? Can you pitch in? Can you lend a hand? The great firewall of Christianity surrounds the outpost of the Kingdom of God that Jesus established when he invaded the Valley of Tears riding a cross. The outpost is slowly and steadily encroaching into the Valley of Tears inch by inch one Christian at a time.

It is o.k. to start small. In fact, the best way is to start small. The best firewalls are built one building block at a time (St. Therese of Lisieux).  Come, let us go to help God save the universe (Centerfield by John Fogerty) (Colossians 1:24).

In the process of saving the universe, we save ourselves.

 

HAVE YOU READ THE LOVE NOTE THAT GOD SENT US?

Many false, inaccurate and conflicting pictures of God circulate through the minds of the children of Adam and Eve. The multiplicity of pictures creates confusion. “This is God” some say as they point to their favorite picture of God. Others point to a different picture and say, “No, this is God.” The controversy goes on ad infinitum. Because of the confusion, the most Holy Trinity desired to set the record straight once and forever. They decided to clear the air. They decided to dispatch the Son of God to earth from heaven to put before us the "similitude" of God (Numbers 12:8) for us to behold. Jesus paid us a visit to reveal God to us. TO ANSWER THE QUESTION, ‘WHO IS GOD?’, GOD SENT US A LOVE NOTE. Have you read the Love Note that God sent us? Does the fact that the Word of God was a Love Note instead of a threat or some other another message bear any significance?

 

GOD WROTE THE LOVE NOTE IN THE LANGUAGE OF SUFFERING

The only universal language that survived the confounding of language that took place at Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) was the language of suffering. The language of suffering is our native tongue. All creatures who suffer understand it. Why did God speak to us in the language of suffering? God took flesh so he could speak to us in our native tongue. He didn't want us to misunderstand his message. The language of suffering is a simple language. It works like this. Nobody signs up to dive headfirst or, for that matter, even dip his toe into the boiling cauldron of suffering unless they are insane or something important outweighs the high cost of suffering. We understand that suffering is an exorbitant price we only willingly pay for something that is extremely dear to us. Jesus paid the exorbitant price because we are extremely dear to Him (Matthew 10:29-31). Jesus spoke to us in the language of suffering because he wants us to know that we are extremely dear to him. The Son of God became one of us - an equal to us in our humanity - a partner with us in our suffering - so we could become an equal to him in his divinity - a partner with him in his glory (Romans 8:17) (John 1:12).

 

What is the bait for the fish?

The indestructibility of God's love for us is the bait that God cast into the Valley of Tears to fish for the children of Adam and Eve . God let us try to destroy it. We hit him with our best shot. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, we failed. He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. His love for us survived the evil that we did to him. That he emerged from the dead still alive is the indisputable proof of his power. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us is the indisputable proof that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is also love - a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love (Isaiah 55:8-9) (Psalm 8:4-8) (Jeremiah 31:3).

 

THE INDESTRUCTIBILITY OF HIS LOVE FOR US

His love for us is mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love (Isaiah 55:8-9) (Psalm 8:4-8) (Jeremiah 31:3).  Wow! Rejoice and be glad. His love for us is not fickle. It does not vacillate. The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Furthermore, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even the evil we did to him could budge it. His love for us is indestructible. Its indestructibility is the irrefutable proof that his love for us is real. Reality is reliable. We can depend on the reality of his love for us. The indestructibility of his love for us is the rock on which the wise build their lives (Matthew 7:24-27). Whom shall we fear? Of whom shall we be afraid (Psalm 27)? Will our almighty lover ever let us down? Will he ever disappoint?

 

From Jesus Dripped a drop of Indestructible love

Jesus is the spigot from whom dripped a drop of indestructible love. The drop multiplied and turned into a flood. The flood irrigated the loveless desert from which the gardens of the new Eden here on earth germinated, blossomed and flourished.

 

BLUNTING THE SHARP TEETH OF OUR CROSSES

Riding on a Cross, Jesus invaded the Valley of Tears not to aggravate the direness of our predicament but to mitigate it in the same way that sugar cubes dilute the bitterness of a bad cup of coffee. “What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God." (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756). Jesus blunts the sharp edges of the crosses that besiege us as we pass through the Valley of Tears. How, exactly? Jesus blazed the trail through the evils of the Valley of Tears. He invites us to follow him through the trail that he blazed. A FLAT HEART, LIKE A FLAT TIRE, MAKES THE RIDE THROUGH THE VALLEY OF TEARS ROUGH. Therefore, the Son of God paid us a visit to inflate our deflated hearts with love. Love is the "grease" that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the Valley of Tears. The Son of God transported the "grease of love" from heaven to us here on earth. His confidence in the efficacy of love as a lubricant was so high that he did something extraordinary. He demonstrated for us that the technology works by using it himself. He donned the jet pack and flew to show us that we, too, can fly. What a crazy daredevil this Jesus was. Wow! He hung from his Cross to teach how to hang from our crosses. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. Therefore, cling as Jesus clung, hold tight and refuse to let go of love, our crosses’ invincible foe. Jesus wants us to pass through our baptism in the evils of the Valley of Tears on the level of our loving God not on the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. He wants us to rise to the challenge of our baptism in the Valley of Tears not fall under it. Why? Love is the easy way. Loveless is the hard way. Love is the shortcut through our troubles.

 

† THE EXCLAMATION POINT † 

The Word of God (John 1:1) is proficient in punctuation. He is an expert in it. The Crucifixion is the exclamation point that the Word of God affixed to the sentence, 'God loves us'. GOD DOES NOT JUST LOVE US. GOD LOVES US EVEN THOUGH WE TORTURED AND KILLED HIM. Wow! Now, that's love. Always punctuate the sentence in the same way that the Word of God punctuated the sentence. Never omit the exclamation point. Mark Twain said, "The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning." Therefore, illuminate the darkness of our understanding of God not with the lightning-bug, but with the lightning.

 

THE CRUCIFIXION AMPLIFIED THE FACT THAT GOD LOVES US 

God is love (1 John 4) [God is love]. However, although correct, it is inadequate to say that 'God is love'. We do a disservice to God when we only say that 'God loves us' or that 'God is love'. We need to include the 'AMPLIFIER' that Jesus included when he demonstrated his love for us on and about the platform of the Cross. If we leave out the brutal ugliness of the Crucifixion when we say that 'God loves us', we sacrifice the highlight, the emphasis, the intensification, the magnification, the amplification and the accentuation of his love for us. HE DID NOT JUST LOVE US. HE LOVED US EVEN THOUGH WE BAPTIZED HIM IN A BOILING CAULDRON OF SUFFERING. His love for us survived the evil we did to him - unscathed. He continued to love us - nonetheless. Now, that is love! Wow! Therefore, never forget to include the amplifier. 'THE SON OF GOD LOVES US EVEN THOUGH WE TORTURED AND KILLED HIM' is a superior articulation of God's love for us because it includes the amplifier. A word to the wise is sufficient.

 

JESUS IS THE CUP OF LOVE THAT RUNNETH OVER

Jesus is the cup of love that runneth over. From his heart, our hearts receive a transfusion of love. The transfusion of love is invigorating. It vivifies us. It brings the dead to life (Luke 15:32) (John 3:3). Love begets love. According to the law of symmetry, love propagates itself, like a wave, from lover to beloved. "We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4: 19).

 

THE SHIP OF GODLESSNESS IS SINKING

To the lifeboats! To the lifeboats! Abandon ship! Abandon ship! The ship of godlessness is sinking (Mark 4:35-41). A rescue mission is in progress. The rescue mission, however, is not to save the ship. The rescue mission is to save the passengers.  God is not interested in making godlessness into a better, more hospitable place for godless people to live. God wants to transform godless people into people of God. Letting us stew in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears for a lifetime like pickles in a barrel of brine is how God transforms us into people of God. To transform us, we receive our baptism in the evils of the Valley of Tears. God lets us stick our fingers into the fire to learn for ourselves that the fire is hot. Our baptism is harsh but effective medicine. The prodigal son will never return to the pig sty. Neither will we. When the gift of paradise is given to us, we will not fumble the ball as did Lucifer, the gaggle of angels who follow Lucifer, Eve, Adam and the prodigal son. We will keep the gift of paradise. We know through our own personal experience that the alternative is a shithole. Rational people do not want to live in a shithole. It is against our self-interest to do so. it is crazy to do so.

 

THE SLEDGEHAMMER OF TRUTH POUNDS THE CAMEL THROUGH THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE

Why is it more difficult for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:24)? The direness of our predicament in the Valley of Tears is one of the two engines of salvation. The other engine is the sweetness of paradise. The sweetness of paradise pulls us to the entrance of paradise. The direness of our predicament in the Valley of Tears pushes us to its exit. However, the serpent cast an illusion that sugarcoats the direness of our predicament in the Valley of Tears. The sugarcoating induced Adam and Eve to run away, like foolish children, from their home with God in paradise and take us with them into the Valley of Tears. The sugarcoating is thicker for the rich man than for the poor man. The thickness of the sugarcoating makes it harder to shatter. The thicker the sugarcoating, the harder the sledgehammer of truth needs to work. A rich man thinks that he can exploit his riches to fend off the crosses that besiege us as we pass through the Valley of Tears (Luke 12:13-21). His riches can hold the crosses at bay. The poor man, not having the cushion of riches between himself and his crosses, is more aware than the rich man of the direness of his predicament. Riches conjure up the dangerous illusion of safety and of independence from God (Luke 12:16-21). Riches give the rich man a false sense of security. A poor man with no resources is much more likely to turn to God than a rich man with resources.

 

What do We Put Between Us and Our Crosses?

One of the reasons Jesus paid us a visit was to teach us to put a heart filled to the brim with love between us and our crosses. “What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God."  (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756).

 

RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)

Jesus invites the children of Adam and Eve to make an investment in Christianity. The wise investor asks himself, “How does an investment in Christianity benefit me?”

Beware the salesman who is soliciting an investment in Christianity from you in return for a promise of benefits in the next life. He is trying to sell you a pig in a poke (Wikipedia). Such salesmen are con men running a confidence scheme. They are trying to swindle you. Before you invest, check the prospectus.

The payback from an investment in Christianity is today not tomorrow - immediate not delayed to some indeterminate time in the future posthumously.

Jesus blazed a trail through the evils of the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of death and into the promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey. He invites us to follow the trail. He blazed the trail with love. A FLAT HEART, LIKE A FLAT TIRE, MAKES THE RIDE THROUGH THE VALLEY OF TEARS ROUGH. Therefore, the Son of God paid us a visit to inflate our deflated hearts with love. Love is the "grease" that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the Valley of Tears. By keeping our hearts filled to the brim with love as we pass through the evils of the Valley of Tears, we can pick up and carry our crosses and continue to make progress on the pilgrimage to our destination.

Does the Church realize that it has practical and valuable advice to give the children of Adam and Eve who struggle as they pass through the Valley of Tears - advice that matters here and now not just in the hereafter? Love is the technology that Jesus transported from heaven to earth to mitigate the evils of the Valley of Tears. The job of the Church is to distribute the technology to the children of Adam and Eve. Get to work!

 

God's War Against Poverty

The war that God is waging is a war against poverty. A life without love is a life spent in poverty. Jesus, therefore, introduced the currency of love into the Valley of Tears and, in so doing, initiated the economy of paradise here on the earth. The economy of paradise is based on the currency of love. With ordinary currency, the more we spend, the poorer we get. It is a paradox, but with the currency of love, the more we spend, the richer we get. God wants us to spend our way out of poverty. God wants us to make ourselves rich !

 

THE APPLICATION FOR CITIZENSHIP IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD

What type of person does God want as a citizen of the Kingdom of God? What type does he not want? What qualifications are needed to apply for citizenship in the Kingdom of God? Wealth? Power? Health? Smarts? Good looks? The only qualification that matters is a heart filled to the brim with love. Love and love alone makes us willing to pay the cost of absorbing evil and doing good. We become citizens of the Kingdom of God when we fill our hearts to the brim with love. Note: the application for citizenship in the Kingdom of God is written while we are still here on earth.

 

SANDBAGS OF LOVE

The dam holding back the deluge of evil burst when Adam and Eve, like foolish children, ran away from their home with God in paradise and took us with them into the Valley of Tears. God wants us to rebuild the dam by filling sandbags with love.

 

Heroism

Heroism is clinging to love, holding tight and refusing to let go while everything else is being stripped from you. Jesus was a hero. How about you? Can you cling as Jesus clung?

 

OUR ‘EUREKA’ MOMENT

The Holy Spirit is tugging at our souls. The curious are following the tug back home to its source. Along the way, the curious are exploring the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God. Are you curious? The curious do not want their tour guides to coddle them. They do not want their tour guides to spoon feed them the answer to the question, ‘Who is God?’. They want to make the discovery for themselves. Therefore, TELL THE CURIOUS WHERE TO LOOK RATHER THAN WHAT YOU FOUND. Don’t answer the question. Be indirect. Give the curious the raw materials with which they can figure out the answer for themselves. Do not unwrap the gift for them. Let them unwrap the gift for themselves. Deposit us on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Set us loose there. There, let us forage for the knowledge of God. The road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is a unique location in Christianity. It is hallowed ground. God himself distinguished the location with Christianity’s greatest landmark. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, God planted the Cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:17) to serve as the flag that rallies Christians to the Son of God. Rally 'round the Cross. The gospel without words was preached there. There God was not said; there God was done. God was shown to us in a demonstration of divinity - in a violent test and in the results of the violent test. The Crucifixion and the Resurrection engaged in a conversation there. The Crucifixion is the sharp question we shouted at Jesus with lash, thorns, nails and spear. The Resurrection is the gentle answer he whispered back to us. “Who are you, Jesus? Identify yourself. Friend or foe?” we asked him. “Friend”, he answered us. The conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection is the most apocalyptic conversation that has ever taken place between us and our God since Moses and God conversed at the burning bush on Mount Horeb (Exodus 3). Are you privy to the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection? The road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the battlefield where the serpent and God waged war. There the final battle of the war took place. Into the Valley of Tears and onto the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, God the Father dispatched his Son to pursue his enemies cast out of heaven (Revelation 12:7-12) and to bring the war against them to its conclusion. Jesus placed the final nail into the serpent’s coffin in the violent collision between himself and the evil that we did to him that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The violent collision was bigger than the Big Bang (Big Bang) and larger than CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Furthermore, incandescent truths erupted from the violent collision that illuminate the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, the unfiltered truth about God is presented to us. The answer to the question, ‘Who is God?’, is buried on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection (Matthew 13:44). Figuring out the answer requires that we go there. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection we enjoy our ‘Eureka’ moment (Wikipedia). Our ‘Eureka’ moment comes when we figure out for ourselves the answer to the question, ‘Who is God?’. Please note that evangelization fails when an evangelist deprives us of our ‘Eureka’ moment. Dull catechesis is no substitute for letting us enjoy our ‘Eureka’ moment.

 

PROOF

God wanted us to know that he is our friend not our foe - for us not against us - a philanthropist not a misanthrope. So, the God who fashioned us out of the dust with his hands put himself into the hands of the dust to leaven the dust with the yeast of divinity. The yeast of divinity is love. Why? The knowledge that God loves us - is infatuated with us - is head over the heels in love with us - is the seed that transforms us. It raises us from the level of the most hideous and miserable of loveless beast and promotes us to the level of our living and loving God. Jesus is the cup of love that runneth over. From his heart, our hearts receive a transfusion of love. The transfusion of love is invigorating. It vivifies us. It brings the dead to life (Luke 15:32) (John 3:3). Love begets love. According to the law of symmetry, love propagates itself, like a wave, from lover to beloved. "We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4: 19). God dispatched his dearly beloved Son, the Love Note, from heaven to earth to finish the job. - to deliver the coup de grâce to the serpent and his minions. The forces of light had driven the forces of darkness out of heaven and cast them down into the Valley of Tears (Revelation 12:7-12). The forces of darkness were evicted but not defeated. Riding on a Cross, Jesus pursued them into the Valley of Tears to bring the war to its conclusion - to put the last nail into the serpent’s coffin. At the climax of the great war between the forces of light and the forces of darkness, Jesus, the Love Note, filled the space he shares with us with love. The final battle occurred on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. In the final battle, Jesus and the evil that we did to him squared off in a violent collision. The violent collision was bigger than the Big Bang (Big Bang) and larger than CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC).  Incandescent truth erupted from the violent collision to illuminate the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. In the violent collision, we tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and did not stop loving us. He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive is the indisputable proof of his power. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us is the indisputable proof that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is also love - a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love (Isaiah 55:8-9) (Psalm 8:4-8).  His love for us did not fade as we tortured him and did not die when we killed him. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. Wow! Rejoice and be glad. His love for us is not fickle. It does not vacillate. The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Furthermore, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even the evil we did to him could budge it. The power of our evil is limited. The evil that we did to him does not have the power to dislodge him from the level of our loving God and demote him to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. The Love Note that our living and loving God sent us is indestructible! Its indestructibility is the irrefutable proof that his love for us is real. Reality is reliable. We can depend on the reality of his love for us. The indestructibility of the love note is the rock on which the wise build their lives (Matthew 7:24-27). Whom shall we fear? Of whom shall we be afraid (Psalm 27)? Will our almighty lover ever let us down? Will he ever disappoint?

 

DUMBING DOWN OUR UNDERSTANDING OF GOD

Is there more to God than his ‘real presence’? Or is his ‘real presence ‘ enough? Are the details about God superfluous - extraneous? Or are the details significant? Our clerics have erased the details from the “real presence” and turned God into a faceless blob. Our clerics have turned God into a blank slate. Without details, God has become a one-dimensional cartoon character instead of a three-dimensional reality - a blurry silhouette of his true self. Our understanding of God has become superficial. We have become lightweights in our understanding of God. God has become a stranger to us and nobody follows a stranger (John 10:5) (Psalm 69:8) (Exodus 2:22). God is neither a blank slate or a faceless blob. There is more to God than the ‘real presence' - much more. Riding on a Cross into the battle of Armageddon to deliver the coup de grace to the serpent and his minions, the Son of God himself answered our question, ‘Who is God?’. Jesus showed us God in the battle of Armageddon on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection

 

GOD DID NOT DEPOSIT ‘THE REAL PRESENCE’ INTO THE MOST HOLY EUCHARIST

God did not deposit the ‘real presence’ into the most Holy Eucharist. He was more specific than the ‘real presence’. He deposited his body and his blood into the bread and wine of the most Holy Eucharist. The details are important. We do a disservice to ourselves when we gloss over the details.

Jesus deposited his body and blood into the bread and wine of the Most Holy Eucharist (Mark 14:22-25). His decision to use body, blood, bread and wine was not random, accidental, arbitrary or capricious. Jesus deliberately picked the four elements of the most Holy Eucharist to pinpoint the LOCATION at which Jesus deposited his most apocalyptic revelation about God and to emphasize its IMPORTANCE.

The BODY AND BLOOD of the most Holy Eucharist point us to the LOCATION at which Jesus deposited his most apocalyptic revelation about God. The connection between his body and his blood is his bloody wounds. At and about his bloody wounds, the most apocalyptic revelation about God is located. 

The BREAD AND WINE of the most Holy Eucharist point us to the IMPORTANCE of the most apocalyptic revelation about God. Without consuming food and drink, we die of hunger and thirst. Without consuming the meaning of his bloody wounds, death is just as certain.

 

WHERE DO WE FORAGE FOR THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD?

Forage for the knowledge of God on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.

 

THE GAP IN OUR KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

A gap existed in our knowledge of God. To fill the gap, Jesus took the show on the road, that is, to the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. He descended from the penthouse of the Kingdom of God to the basement in order to help us ascend from the basement to the penthouse. He transported from heaven to earth the raw material with which we can fill the gap in our knowledge of God.

 

IS GOD A FRIEND, FOE OR MYSTERIOUS CIPHER?

Is God a philanthropist or a misanthrope? Upon what do we base our conclusion? Who are you God? Identify yourself. Friend or foe?

It is not reasonable to expect us to worship a God whom we do not know - God just because he is God. When God is detailless, he is a stranger to us and nobody follows a stranger.

'Is God malevolent or benevolent?' Rational creatures would curse a malevolent God. God would judge them stupid if they did otherwise.

God is not a mysterious cipher. He is not a blank slate. He revealed himself to us. His most apocalyptic revelation erupted from the violent collision between Jesus and the evil that we did to him on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The incandescent truth that erupted from the violent collision illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. God was introduced to us on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. My God, I am pleased to make your acquaintance. I am grateful to get to know you.

 

LEARN THE DETAILS ABOUT GOD. TESTIFY AS A WITNESS TO THEM. SAVE THE WORLD

Love begets love. According to the law of symmetry, love propagates itself, like a wave, from lover to beloved. So God wants us to know that he loves us dearly. His goal is to fill our hearts to the brim with love by filling our heads to the brim with the knowledge that he loves us dearly. To convey his love to us, God sent us a Love Note. Jesus was the expression of God’s love for us. He was the Love Note. From heaven into the Valley of Tears, God dispatched his Son with the revelation that God loves us dearly. The revelation that God loves us dearly is the good news of great joy. The news doesn’t get any better than that. The revelation was both released into the Valley of Tears and verified as genuine in the violent collision between Jesus and the evil that we did to him on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He arose from the dead still alive and still in love with us. If his love for us were counterfeit, it would have faded as we tortured him and would have died when we killed him. But it did not. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. Its survival is the irrefutable proof that his love for us is real. Reality is reliable. We can depend on the reality of his love for us. His love for us is the rock on which the wise build their house (Matthew 7:24-27). Whom shall we fear? Of whom shall we be afraid (Psalm 27)? Will our almighty lover ever let us down? Will he ever disappoint? You are invited to walk with Jesus on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Let Jesus himself show you the demonstration of divinity that took place there. Witness it for yourself with your own two eyes. From it, learn the details about God. Testify as a witness to them. Save the world.

 

THE GRAVAMEN OF CHRISTIANITY

The asymmetric answer (Isaiah 55:8-9) that Jesus gave to the evil that we did to him in the violent collision on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the gravamen of Christianity. Everything else is obiter dicta. He did not answer the evil that we did to him in kind (Isaiah 55:8-9). Thankfully, he changed the tone of the conversation (1 Kings 19:11-13).

  • We did evil to him. He did not do evil to us.

  • We tortured and killed him. He did not torture and kill us.

  • We impaled him on a Cross as a fisherman impales a live worm on a sharp hook. He did not do the same to us.

  • We committed the crime. He did not execute the sentence (Matthew 21:33-41).

  • We lit the fuse to the atomic bomb of retribution, retaliation and revenge. It did not detonate. It was a dud.

The asymmetry is striking. Like a finger, it pokes us in the eye.

The insanity of Christianity, however, is not the radical asymmetry of his answer to the evil that we did to him. The insanity of Christianity is the reason for the asymmetry. What is the reason for the asymmetry? His love for us made his answer to the evil that we did to him asymmetric. His love for us is the gravity that warped a symmetric answer into an asymmetric answer. Asymmetry is the sweet fruit of his love for us.

 

THE REASON FOR THE ASYMMETRY

His love for us made his answer to the evil we did to him asymmetrical.

 

JESUS BROKE THE LAW OF SYMMETRY

Evil begets evil. The law of symmetry holds that evil begets evil. Evil propagates itself, like a wave, from evildoer to victim. Jesus broke the law of symmetry. He erected a firewall between himself and evil. He built the firewall with bricks of love. Love insulated Jesus from evil. His love for us stopped the propagation of evil dead in its tracks.

 

THE UNBRIDLED GENEROSITY OF GOD

God is the giver of gifts. He delights in giving his creatures gifts. His generosity is limitless - the blessed byproduct of his love for us. Perfect generosity is an attribute of God. The extravagance of his generosity is best illustrated by his gift to us of his beloved Son (Matthew 3:17).

God had a message for us. The message revealed the content of God’s heart. His heart was filled to the brim with love for us so the message was that God loves us dearly. God wanted us to know that he is our friend not our foe - for us not against us - a philanthropist not a misanthrope. To deliver the message, God dispatched a messenger from heaven to the Valley of Tears. In fact, expressing his love for us was so important that God did not send a subordinate to express it. He did not dispatch a flunky. God did the job himself. The stature of the messenger conveys to us the importance of the message (Luke 20:13). The Word of God (John 1:1) conveyed the message to us. What type of literature is the Word of God (John 1:1)? The Word of God (John 1:1) is a Love Note. He is the expression of God’s love for us. He conveyed God’s love for us into the Valley of Tears.

The delivery of the message, however, was the easy part of the mission. The hard part of the mission was its verification. God did not want our doubts to spoil the message. He wanted no ambiguity about the genuineness of the Love Note. So God decreed that the Love Note would be verified. God would set his seal on it. The seal that God set on the Love Note to verify its authenticity was the seal of bloody wounds. His love for us did not fade as we tortured him and did not die when we killed him. His love for us survived the evil that we did to him. Bloody wounds are the proof that the Love Note is authentic.

The verification of the Love Note took place in a violent collision between Jesus and the evil that we did to him on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, we baptized the Love Note (Matthew 3:13-17). We baptize him while he was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth. It was a baptism of evil. We impaled him on a cross as insouciantly as a fisherman impales a live worm on a sharp hook. At and about the Crucifixion, we disassembled the Love Note. We tore up the Love Note into bits and pieces. We shredded it. We unceremoniously cast it aside.

The story of Jesus ought to have ended with his death.  The thirty-three year Visit of the Love Note was inconspicuous, anonymous and remote. It took place in the boondocks of time and space. The Romans executed many by crucifixion. Yet, we cannot identify by name even one of them. Why does the name of the Nazarene stand out from the other victims? Why does the story of Jesus continue to be written after his death?

In the Resurrection, God answered the evil we did to him. Call and response (Music). The Crucifixion was the call; the Resurrection was the response. Surprisingly, God did not answer the evil we did to him in kind. He changed the tone of the conversation. His answer to the evil we did to him was asymmetric - radically asymmetric. The evil baptism into which we immersed him did not trigger the atomic bomb of revenge, retaliation and retribution. Although we lit the fuse, the bomb was a dud. It refused to detonate. "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).  His love for us did not fade as we tortured him and did not die when we killed him. His love for us survived the evil we did to him.

What our evil disassembled in the Crucifixion, God reassembled in the Resurrection. God reassembled the bits and pieces of the Love Note that we shredded back into a Love Note. Mother Goose told us that “All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again” (Humpty Dumpty). God did what men and horses couldn’t - he reassembled the love note - and did so in just three days (John 2:18-22).

Wow! Rejoice and be glad. His love for us is not fickle. It does not vacillate arbitrarily and capriciously. His love for us is a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love (Isaiah 55:8-9) (Psalm 8:4-8 (KJV) [What is man?]).The love note is indestructible! The indestructibility of the love note is the rock on which the wise build their lives (Matthew 7:24-27).

 

WHAT HAPPENED ON THE ROAD FROM THE CRUCIFIXION TO THE RESURRECTION?

What happened on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection? On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, Jesus and the evil that we did to him faced off in a violent collision. Incandescent truth erupted from the violent collision that illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, Jesus published the fact that God is head over heels in love with us. He released into the Valley of Tears the knowledge that God loves us dearly.

 

IN THE VALLEY OF TEARS, WE WRESTLE WITH EVIL

The Valley of Tears is the arena in which we wrestle with evil and its bitter fruit, suffering. In the Valley of Tears, evil tries to dislodge us from the level of our loving God and reduce us to the level of the most hideous and miserable of loveless beast. Our job is to stay on the level of our loving God. Our job is to refuse the demotion. Regardless of our status in life, this is the only “game” that matters to God. Evil challenges us to demonstrate our very nature - to publish the essence of our being. Evil reveals to others and, more importantly, to ourselves the color of our souls. Our nature is either godlike or beastlike. The measure of success and failure is how well we do our job. Jesus succeeded. Will we?

 

THE DEPOSIT INTO THE BANK

Jesus deposited the knowledge that God loves us dearly into the violent collision between himself and the evil we did to him on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection (Matthew 13:44). The revelation that God is head over heels in love with us is the treasure of Christianity. It emerged from the violent collision . The violent collision is the bank that holds the treasure of Christianity (Matthew 6:19-21). The holy places that define the escape route of the new Exodus through the evils of the Valley of Tears are the branches of the bank from which the children of Adam and Eve can make withdrawals of the treasure. Jesus is overjoyed to share his wealth with us (Isaiah 55: 1-2). He wants to make us rich (John 4: 13-14) (John 10:10)!

 

THE RELEASE OF THE REVELATION THAT GOD LOVES US DEARLY INTO THE VALLEY OF TEARS AND ITS VERIFICATION

Jesus unloaded the revelation that God loves us dearly onto the violent collision between Jesus and the evil that we did to him that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. In the violent collision, Jesus both released and verified the revelation. He did not just tell us about God. He showed us God. God was not said but done. It is ironic but the Word of God (John 1:1) wasn't an author. He was a carpenter (Mark 6:3). The carpenter built his most apocalyptic revelation into the violent collision that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.

 

LOVE IS THE GOLD STANDARD OF CHRISTIANITY  

Love is the gold standard of Christianity against which all things are measured.

Love, however, is more than an emotion. It is not merely a feeling. Love has two components that can be measured. To measure love, data from the answers to two questions are needed.

  1. What is the scope of our love? and

  2. What is the size of our payment? .

We approach perfection in love as the scope of our love broadens and the size of our love grows. 

1) What is the scope of our love? In other words, whom do we love? Is the scope of our love narrow or broad? Whom do we include in and whom do we exclude from the scope of our love?

2) What is the size of our payment? Love is not free. It comes at a cost. Love requires the payment of a ransom in return for the giving of a blessing or the lifting of a burden. Are we willing to pay the cost of love? Furthermore, how much are we willing to pay? Is the amount we are willing to pay small or large? Are we generous or parsimonious with our payment?

There is a difference between selfish love and sacrificial love. Selfish love picks up the tab for ourselves. Sacrificial love picks up the tab for others. Sacrificial love is a willingness to pay out of our own pockets the costs for the production of benefits to or the removal of burdens from our neighbors.

Initially, both the scope of our love and the size of our love are stunted. We begin at absolute selfishness.

God, however, endowed reality with naturally occurring structures that encourage us to expand the scope and the size of our love. They are a hospitable environment where love can prosper. Naturally occurring love expanding structures are designed to be places where a reciprocity of love is experienced. In these structures, love is a two way street. Examples are family, friendship, marriage, team, club, tribe and Church. The relationship of a mother and her child is a naturally occurring love expanding structure. God’s enemies seek to eradicate the structures to deprive us of the joy of reciprocating love. By experiencing a reciprocity of love in these and other love expanding structures, we learn to perfect our love. Love begets love. The business of Christianity is seminal. Christianity plants the seeds of love (Matthew 13:31-32) into the hearts (Luke 17:20-21) of the children of Adam and Eve. The seeds turn into trees so that, in the orchards of Christianity - the gardens of the new Eden -, many can enjoy the fruits of love (Mark 4:20).

The good Samaritan is celebrated for radicalizing the scope of his love. He picked up the tab for a stranger in distress. Including a stranger within the scope of love was unprecedented. The expansion of the scope of love by the good Samaritan was a breakthrough in the science of love. When it was Jesus's turn to advance the science of love, Jesus pushed the envelope. Jesus raised the bar that marks the upper limit of love far higher than the Good Samaritan did (Luke 10:25-37). Jesus radicalized both the size of his love and the scope of his love.

With regard to the size of his love, Jesus laid down his life for us (John 10:15-18) (John 15:13). He made the payment not from his unlimited divine resources. He made the payment from his limited human resources. He paid them all for us (1 Corinthians 7:23-24). He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else (John 15:13). The exorbitant size of the payment is irrefutable evidence of the exorbitant size of his love for us.

With regard to the scope of his love, it was said that “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13.) This, however, was merely the conventional wisdom. Jesus destroyed the conventional wisdom. He obliterated it. He turned conventional wisdom on its head. Jesus showed us a love that was more radical - more extreme - than laying down one's life for our friends. How so? Jesus radicalized the scope of his love. Jesus laid down his life not for his friends but for his enemies. Jesus picked up the tab for us, the very sinners who tortured and murdered him (Romans 5:8) (Matthew 7:6) (Luke 23:34). Because his most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us, Jesus was able to say "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). Wow! How radical is such love! How extreme! Is no one, not even his enemies, excluded from the scope of his love? 

In the toxic soil of the Crucifixion, we planted Jesus. And the glorious flower of the Resurrection bloomed. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He arose from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive is the indisputable proof of his power. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us is the indisputable proof that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is also love - a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love (Isaiah 55:8-9) (Psalm 8:4-8).  

Take stock of yourself. What is the scope and size of your love? How much are you willing to pay from your own pocket? For whom?

 

WHAT DOES THE IDEAL HUMAN BEING LOOK LIKE?

What does the ideal human being look like? Christianity supplies the model. The ideal human being is willing to pay the cost out of his own pocket here and now in the Valley of Tears to deliver a blessing to or to lift a burden from his neighbor. The ideal human being picks up the tab for his neighbors. Picking up the tab for our neighbors is the gold standard of Christianity, The scope of the love of the ideal human being is not narrow but broad. The size of the amount that he is willing to pay is not small but large. Scope and size are the two components of love susceptible to objective measurement. We are made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). He endowed us with the capacity to love. The greater the love that we hold in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God. The ideal human being is a child of Adam and Eve who bears an uncanny resemblance to God. We have a name for this kind of human being. We call them saints. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35)(1 John 4: 7-12). When we fill our hearts to the brim with love, we perfect our resemblance to God (Matthew 5:43-48). We become an ideal human being. We live up to God’s expectation of us. The goal of Christianity is to build us so we resemble the model of the ideal human being. This is the gravamen of Christianity. Everything else is obiter dicta. Everything else is a red herring - a distraction from the mission of Christianity.

 

EACH OF US IS THE PILOT OF OUR OWN SOUL

Each of us is the pilot of our own soul. We cannot subcontract the job to another. We cannot delegate it. No one else can do it for us not even our Church. It cannot be done vicariously. Seeking God is a unique, idiosyncratic, personal experience. There is no substitute for going through it. Why? In the process of seeking God, God transforms us. We do not transform ourselves. The Church does not transform us. Only God transforms us. Unless we go through the process ourselves, we cannot be transformed. Transformation comes as we deepen our understanding of God. How do we deepen our understanding of God? To rescue us from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears, God built an escape route, defined it with holy places, made a map of them, established a Church and entrusted the map to the Church. The Church has the map and knows the way. The map is a treasure map for treasure hunters engaged in a treasure hunt. The new exodus is making its escape from holy place to holy place through the evils of the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death and into the promised land. At the holy places that define the escape route of the new Exodus, contact with divinity is made - close encounters with our living and loving God take place. During a close encounter, a connection is made between earth and heaven. Through the connection, the light of paradise illuminates the darkness of godlessness. No one walks away from a close encounter with our living and loving God unchanged. No one walks away from a close encounter with our living and loving God empty handed. Only by moving from holy place to holy place that define the escape route can we be sure that we are heading in the right direction. The movement of the new exodus is the needle of the compass that always points in the direction of God. The job of the Church is to facilitate the escape not to frustrate it, filter it or foul it up (Isaiah 57:14). The escape of the new Exodus from godlessness to paradise is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect (Matthew 23:13). “Nobody left behind" is the motto of the escape. "Neither saint nor sinner” (Luke 15).

 

TRANSFORMATION IS THE JOB OF GOD; PARTICIPATION IS THE JOB OF THE CHURCH

Like trees, settlers have put down roots deep into the Valley of Tears. They are content to stand still even though the Valley of Tears is hostile territory. In hostile territory, movement is necessary for survival.  Settlers standing still in the Valley of Tears must become pilgrims passing through it. Run, settlers, run. Do not stand still. Run from holy place to holy place. [If the exigency is not felt, the Church is not doing its job (Matthew 3:7).]  The job of the Church is to transform settlers into pilgrim. The job of God is to transform sinners into saints. Participation, not transformation, is the job of the Church. The work of salvation goes off the rails when the Church tries to do God’s job.

 

THE KNOWLEDGE THAT GOD LOVES US IS THE SEED OF TRANSFORMATION

The seed of transformation is the knowledge that God loves us (Matthew 13: 1-23).

 

THE FOUNDATION ON WHICH WE REST THE CORRECT UNDERSTANDING OF GOD

On what do you rest your understanding of God? The sequence of events that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the firm foundation on which we rest our understanding of God. Rest your understanding of God elsewhere and your understanding of God will be distorted.

 

RATIONALITY STEERS THE SHIP

The truth is the fuel of our rationality. When fueled by the the truth, our rationality steers us in the right direction. When the fuel of truth is fouled by a lie, our rationality leads us astray (John 8:44).

 

THE HIGHEST AUTHORITY IS THE TRUTH

The highest authority is the truth. God open sourced the truth. Nobody has a monopoly over the truth.

 

THE ARTIST

God is the artist who paints the masterpiece of reality on the canvas of our rationality in the pigments of truth.

 

THE EVIL THAT WE DID TO JESUS OPENED THE MOUTH OF GOD

The evil that we did to Jesus opened the mouth of God. HIS BLOODY WOUNDS ARE THE MOUTH OF GOD. "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). By his bloody wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5) (1 Peter 2:24).  Through his bloody wounds, the gospel without words was preached to us on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. What is the gospel without words? What are his bloody wounds trying to tell us? What do they say? Witness the Truth by watching the traffic through his bloody wounds. Buckets of blood spilled through the wounds that we opened in his body. On a cataract of blood, his life itself followed his blood through his wounds and out of his body. But not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us did likewise. His most Sacred Heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us (John 13:1). Because his most Sacred Heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us, he was able to say, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Forgiveness is the sweet fruit of his love for us. Isn’t a tree known by its fruit (Luke 6:43-45). We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive revealed to us his power. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than power. Our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is also love - a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love (Isaiah 55:8-9) (Psalm 8:4-8). The good news of great joy was preached to us through his bloody wounds. What is the good news of great joy? The good news of great joy is that God loves us dearly. The news does not get any better than that! On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, God planted the Cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:17) to serve as the flag that rallies Christians to the Son of God. Rally 'round the Cross!

 

THE INTERMEDIATE STEP

Jesus did not hand off the revelation about God that he transported from heaven to earth directly to the “official” Church. He did not whisper the revelation directly into its ear. There was an intermediate step. He deposited his most apocalyptic revelation about God into the Valley of Tears by participating in a violent collision between himself and the evil that we did to him on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 1:17).  On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, the most apocalyptic revelation about God is stored. Thence the revelation is distributed to the children of Adam and Eve. The deposit of the revelation into the violent collision that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the premise from which conclusions about God are drawn. The revelation deposited on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the treasure of Christianity. The “official” Church often disregards, deprecates and downplays the intermediate step because the intermediate step is beyond its control. It is a revelation about God that transcends the borders of any particular flavor of Christianity. Jesus open sourced it (Wikipedia). No religion has a monopoly over it.

 

THE BATTLEFIELD WHERE GOD AND THE SERPENT WAGED WAR

War was waged in heaven between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. The forces of light drove the forces of darkness out of heaven and cast them down into the Valley of Tears (Revelation 12:7-12). They were pushed back but not defeated. Therefore, the Father dispatched the Son of God to pursue his enemies into the Valley of Tears to bring the war to its conclusion - to put the final nail in the serpent’s coffin. The war was fought over the content of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Jealous of God’s love for us, the serpent wanted to empty it of its love for us. The mission of the Son of God was to keep his heart filled to the brim with love for us. Would Jesus stay on the level of our loving God? Or would he be dislodged and reduced to the level of the most hideous and miserable of loveless beast? Would Jesus cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go? Or would he let his love for us dissipate? The tactics of the serpent were simple. Surely, the serpent reasoned, God's love for us would fade as we tortured his dearly beloved Son and would die when we killed him (Matthew 21:33-41). The serpent's hypothesis, however, proved incorrect. His logic proved flawed. The serpent tried but failed to drain the most Sacred Heart of Jesus of his love for us. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. What lesson does his victory over the serpent teach us? His love for us is a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love (Isaiah 55:8-9) (Psalm 8:4-8).

 

PINPOINTING THE PRECISE LOCATION IN THE VALLEY OF TEARS WHERE GOD AND THE SERPENT WAGED WAR

God erected a monument to pinpoint the precise location in the Valley of Tears of the battlefield where God won his glorious victory and the serpent suffered his abject defeat. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, God erected the Cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:17) to serve as the flag that rallies Christians to the Son of God. Rally 'round the Cross!

 

THE EPICENTER OF THE APOCALYPSE

 Where is the epicenter of the apocalypse (Apocalypse)? To pinpoint the precise location of the epicenter of the apocalypse, God erected a landmark. At the epicenter of the apocalypse, God planted the Cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:17) to serve as the flag that rallies Christians to the Son of God. Rally 'round the Cross! The epicenter of the apocalypse is found in the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through his bloody wounds, and ended at the Resurrection. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is found the sharp question that we shouted at him and the gentle answer he whispered back to us. In this most apocalyptic conversation, the nature of God was revealed to us. "Who are you, Jesus?" "Identify yourself!" "Friend or foe?". We interrogated him with lash, thorns, nails and spear. We gave him the third degree. "I AM YOUR FRIEND NOT YOUR FOE", he answered. He spilled the beans. He let the cat out of the bag.

 

Fill Your lamp with the oil of love

Fill your lamp with the oil of love so Jesus can recognize you before it is too late

 

OUR INSTINCT

Our instinct is to let our crosses crosses crush us, We let them pound us into the toxic soil of the Valley of Tears as a hammer pounds a nail into a piece of wood. Our crosses dislodge us from the level of our loving God and reduce us to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. They deflate our inflated hearts of love. The ride through the Valley of Tears is rough with a heart deflated of love. Therefore, God wants us to follow him by denying ourselves, picking up and carrying our crosses (Matthew 16:24). He showed us how to do it. He hung from his Cross to teach how to hang from our crosses. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. Therefore, cling as Jesus clang, hold tight and refuse to let go of love, our crosses’ invincible foe. He wants us to pass through our baptism in the evils of the Valley of Tears on the level of our loving God not on the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. He wants us to rise to the challenge not fall under it.

 

LOVE IS THE YEAST OF DIVINITY

The God who fashioned us out of the dust with his hands (Genesis 2:7) put himself into the hands of the dust to leaven the dust with the yeast of divinity. Love is the yeast of divinity (Matthew 13:33).

 

BEWARE THE STERILITY OF CHRISTIANITY

Evangelists have become sterile. They shoot blanks. They fail because they try to fill our heads with a byzantine codex of rules, regulations red tape and rigmarole. The ammunition of the evangelist is love (1 John 4: 19). Evangelists only succeed when they fill our hearts with love. "Fill the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea(Isaiah 11:9). How? By loving. Love is done not said. Christianity is not classroom work; it is field work. For love to bear fruit, it must be practiced not merely preached. Love begets love. Preaching about love begets nothing. Start small with your family. Slowly and steadily expand both the scope of your love and the size of your love. We learn from the revelation that Jesus released into the Valley of Tears as he proceeded from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection that God’s love for us is unlimited - unlimited in size, unlimited in scope and unlimited in duration. Limits to God’s love for us simply do not exist. They are illusions. His love for us is perfect. Not even the evil we did to him could extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in his most sacred heart nor diminish its intensity by even the slightest degree. The unlimited length, breadth and depth of God’s love for us is the Good News of Great Joy. The news does not get any better than that!

 

GOD DID NOT STEP ON THE BRAKES

Even though we tortured and killed him and he suffered and died, God did not step on the brakes with his love affair with humanity. The expectation was that, at the very least, God would have slowed down his love affair with us. Instead of slowing down, He kept the pedal to the metal (Isaiah 55:8-9).

 

What is Christianity?

Christianity is a love story. It tells the tale of the love affair between God and humanity. It is the tale of God trying to establish the right relationship between Creator and creatures. The right relationship is a mutuality of love - a reciprocity of love - between us and God and us and our neighbors. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" . To initiate the right relationship, God loved us first . He gave what was holy to us while we were still dogs. He cast pearls to us while we were still swine. As predicted, we trampled him under our feet and turned to rend him into bits and pieces . Yet, he continued to love us nonetheless even though we tortured and killed him - despite the evil that we did to him. Why? Why was it so important that he love us first? His love for us is the spark that triggers the chain reaction of love. It is the snowball that launched the avalanche of love. It is the catalyst of the Kingdom of God . "What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God."  (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756).

 

The Purpose of Life

Our predicament in the Valley of Tears is dire. The Valley of Tears is as foul as Eden was fair - as hostile as Eden was hospitable. As we pass through the Valley of Tears, we eat the bread of adversity and drink the water of affliction (Isaiah 30:20-22). The rod is not spared on the children of Adam and Eve in the Valley of Tears. Spare the rod and spoil the children (Proverbs 13:24) (Hebrews 12:5-11). We come into intimate contact with the sour truth in the Valley of Tears. We put our fingers into the flames to learn for ourselves that the fire is hot. In the sour truth of the Valley of Tears, we are baptized. Crucifixion precedes Resurrection. Baptism precedes rebirth. We are first baptized in the Valley of Tears before we are born again into the Kingdom of God. There is no shortcut by which we can avoid the Valley of Tears. It is not a Maginot Line that we can go around. There is no bridge over it or tunnel under it. We must pass through it. As meat passes through a grinder, we pass through it. As grist passes through a mill, we pass through it. No exceptions. Unfortunately, the sour truth has teeth. It bites. It chews us up into bits and pieces. The sour truth of the Valley of Tears is medicine - harsh but effective. It works. The prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty. Neither will we. When the gift of paradise is delivered to us, we will keep it. We will not fumble the ball as Lucifer did, as the gaggle of angels who follow Lucifer did, as Eve did, as Adam did and as the prodigal son did. Our baptism in the Valley of Tears make us know better. The purpose of life is to make our escape through the evils of the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of death and into the promised land. Jesus made his escape through the evils of the Valley of Tears on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. He blazed the trail for us. He led the way. The new Exodus has found and is following the trail that Jesus blazed. Have you joined the new Exodus? Or are you trying to blaze your own trail through the wilderness? The escape of the new Exodus from godlessness to paradise is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect (Matthew 23:13). The job of the Church is to facilitate the escape not to frustrate it, filter it or foul it up (Isaiah 57:14). Only by moving from holy place to holy place that define the escape route can we be sure that we are heading in the right direction. The movement of the new exodus is the needle of the compass that always points in the direction of God.

 

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RELIGION AND POLITICS

Both religion and politics are concerned with outcomes. Their approach to achieving outcomes is different. Politics tries to produce outcomes by working from the outside in. Religion tries to produce outcomes by working from the inside out. Politics ensnares an individual with rules, regulations, red tape, rigmarole. Religion tries to fill an individual’s heart with love so we can reap the fruit of love some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty (Matthew 13:23). Are they doing politics? Or are they doing religion?

 

GOD IS NOT DEAD

God is not dead. Indeed, God is very much alive. However, the conversation about God is dead. Killing the conversation about God is tantamount to killing God. The enemies of the Church know this. The Church does not. God is the colossus who bestrides the universe. The Church trivializes him by excluding him from the conversation. By excluding God from the conversation, the Church has turned God into an inscrutable, aloof caricature of himself. The Church assumes we have an understanding of God.  The assumption, however, is incorrect. God is a stranger to us and nobody follows a stranger (John 10:5). It is time to stop squandering the conversation. It is time to change the ratio of the content of the conversation to more foundation and less roof.  More pizzazz; less nitty-gritty.  More Mary; less Martha. More revelation; less regulation. More God; less Church. No change in doctrine; just a change in emphasis - a tweak, nothing more. 

 

THE CONVERSATION ABOUT GOD IS DEAD

God is not dead. Indeed, God is very much alive. However, the conversation about God is dead. Killing the conversation about God is tantamount to killing God. The enemies of the Church know this. The Church does not. 

The thermometer that gauges the temperature of the body of Christ is the practice of Christianity. By this measure, the patient is moribund - a few breaths away from death. 

Preaching the revelation that arose from the violent collision between Jesus and the evil that we did to him on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the priority of Christianity. Why? Because it propagates the knowledge of God. "Fill the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea(Isaiah 11:9). Therefore, it is time to rediscover the revelation It is time to reemphasize it. Isn't the Mass a re-presentation of the violent collision - the bloodless sacrifice based on the bloody sacrifice? Isn't Holy Week all about it? Can we devote at least 50% of the conversation to the revelation? Is 50% too much to ask?

 

GOD IS NOW HOMELESS AND CHRISTIANITY IS NOW GODLESS

We no longer appreciate the importance of the revelation that arose from the violent collision between Jesus and the evil that we did to him on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. We deprecate it. Other, lesser aspects of Christianity have pushed the most apocalyptic revelation out of the conversation and into the periphery of Christianity. Trifles and minutiae have eclipsed it. Red herrings have sidetracked us from it. Christianity is the home of God in the Valley of Tears. But we have evicted God from his home. God is now homeless and Christianity is now godless.

 

CHRISTIANITY IS DYING BECAUSE CHRISTIANS ARE KILLING CHRISTIANITY

Christianity is dying not because of hostile external forces. The secular culture is not killing Christianity. Christianity is dying because Christians are killing Christianity (Pogo). Many self-styled Christians promote their own favorite, pet aspects of Christianity at the expense of the revelation about God that arose from the test that Jesus took on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. They castrate a proper understanding of God from the body of Christianity. They snip the vitality and virility of Christianity off at the root. They elevate regulation over revelation - rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole over God's love for us. They dilute God's love for us. They water it down. Instead of feeding the sheep with the knowledge of God, our clerics are feeding us with junk food (Isaiah 55:2) (John 21:15-17).

 

DISENLIGHTENMENT

We have fallen into a new dark age - a period of disenlightenment (Matthew 5:14-16). Instead of feeding the sheep with the knowledge of God, we are being fed with junk food (Isaiah 55:2).

We put our God to the test (Luke 4:12) (Deuteronomy 6:16) on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The results of the test answer the question, “Who is God?”. Yet, we are not interested in the results of the test.

Jesus wrote his Autobiography on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection . Yet, we no longer read it.

Jesus painted his self-portrait on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Yet, we no longer view it.

A conversation took place between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Yet, we are no longer privy to it.

God does not impress us. God is not important to us. We are indifferent to God (Luke 9:59-62).

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16).

 

A MORATORIUM ON BLOVIATING ABOUT MORALITY

If a moratorium were declared on our discussion of morality, would we have anything to say about God? Is the content of our conversation limited to regulation? Or can we discuss revelation as well? Is God a stranger to us? Or do we know God and, because we know God, we have the ability to share our knowledge about him with our neighbors? In particular, what can you share with us about the revelation that was released into the Valley of Tears in consequence of the violent collision between Jesus and the evil we did to him on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection? Christianity is the earthquake whose epicenter was the violent collision between Jesus and the evil we did to him on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The violent collision was bigger than the Big Bang (Big Bang) and larger than CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC).  In the violent collision, we tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. What incandescent truth erupted from this apocalypse that illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany?

 

THE JELLY DOUGHNUT

We are in the business of selling jelly donuts. The best way to sabotage sales of jelly donuts is to leave the jelly out. A jelly doughnut is not a jelly doughnut without the jelly. It is something else - a croissant perhaps. What is the jelly of Christianity? The jelly of Christianity is God's love for us. His power made paradise. His love for us, however, makes paradise sweet. Power demands respect. But love demands love. The sweetness of paradise is the honey that lures the bees back home to the hive. Rational creatures seek the sweetness of paradise and flee the sourness of godlessness. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise. Therefore, when you are in the business of selling jelly donuts, make sure you do not leave the jelly out.

 

THE COMPARISON BETWEEN CREATURE AND CREATOR TOOK PLACE ON THE ROAD FROM THE CRUCIFIXION TO THE RESURRECTION

What is the heart and soul of Christianity? What is at its core. Can you articulate it in the fewest words?

We did evil to him. He did not do evil to us. We tortured and killed him. He did not torture and kill us. We impaled him on a Cross as a fisherman impales a live worm on a sharp hook. He did not do the same to us. We committed the crime. He did not execute the sentence (Matthew 21:33-41). We lit the fuse to the bomb of retribution, retaliation and revenge. It did not detonate. It was a dud. The asymmetry is striking. Like a finger, it pokes us in the eye. We know the facts. Asymmetry is the fact. He did not answer the evil that we did to him in the same manner that we would answer evil done to us. But, what is the reason for the asymmetry? What is the explanation of the facts? Why isn’t God like us (Isaiah 55:8-9)? Doesn’t the equation, ‘evil = evil’, capture reality? Doesn’t 2 + 2 = 4 anymore?

Christianity is the earthquake whose epicenter was the violent collision between Jesus and the evil we did to him on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. In the earthquake of Christianity, Jesus reset the world on a new foundation - a foundation of love (Revelation 21:5) (Psalm 104:5). Jesus is the cup of love that runneth over like the dewfall. Evil tried but failed to contain it. He did not answer the evil we did to him in kind (Isaiah 55:8-9). Thankfully, He changed the tone of the conversation (1 Kings 19:11-13). His love for us stopped his answer to the evil we did to him from becoming symmetrical. Jesus repealed the law of symmetry. He broke the equation that holds that evil equals evil. He shattered the equation into bits and pieces. With regard to evil, 2 + 2 does not equal 4 anymore. Love did the trick. The evil that we did to him did not dislodge him from the level of our loving God and reduce him to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts. The evil that we did to him did extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in his most Sacred Heart or reduce its intensity by even the slightest degree. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go even though we tortured and killed him. His most Sacred Heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. Thank God that he is unlike us (Isaiah 55:8-9).

The Valley of Tears is as foul as Eden was fair - as hostile as Eden was hospitable. As we pass through the Valley of Tears, we eat the bread of adversity and drink the water of affliction (Isaiah 30:20-22). The rod is not spared on the children of Adam and Eve in the Valley of Tears. Spare the rod and spoil the children (Proverbs 13:24) (Hebrews 12:5-11). We come into intimate contact with the sour truth in the Valley of Tears. Unfortunately, the sour truth has teeth. It bites. It chews us up into bits and pieces. The ride through the evils of the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of death and into the promised land is rough. Jesus made his escape through the Valley of Tears on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection not to aggravate our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears but to mitigate it. He came to show us the best way to make our escape through the Valley of Tears. He blazed the trail through it. He hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from our crosses. He was so confident in the fact that love is the grease that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the Valley of Tears that he did the most remarkable thing. He did not just lob his recommendation at us to love our way through the evils of the Valley from a safe distance. He entered the fray. He joined the scrum. He put himself in the middle of it. He did not just tell us. He showed us. He donned the jet pack and flew to show us that we, too, can fly. What a crazy daredevil this Jesus was! While we tortured and killed him, He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He invites us to do likewise. Therefore, do not try to blaze your own trail through the wilderness. Follow Jesus on the trail that he blazed. Cling as Jesus clung, hold tight and refuse to let go of love, evil’s invincible foe. Only love kicks evil’s ass (John 3: 20-21).

The Son of God did not transport and demonstrate pie-in-the-sky, head-in-the-clouds technology. He transported and demonstrated down-to-earth, practical technology. We can use it today, not just tomorrow, profitably. It is relevant to this world not just to the next. There is no need to wait to the next world before we fill our hearts to the brim with love. We can fill our hearts to the brim with love now (Luke 17:20-21)

Furthermore, the technology is platform agnostic. It works whether you are a Roman Catholic, other Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Pagan, Atheist, Saint, Sinner or something else. It is open source technology. It is catholic in the broadest sense of the word. It transcends the boundaries of religions. No religion has a monopoly over it.

A comparison took place (Isaiah 55:8-9) on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Creature was compared to Creator. God put beauty and ugliness together on the same stage in vivid display so we could watch beauty overcome ugliness - the light overcome the darkness (John 1:5). We were the stars of the Crucifixion. He was the star of the Resurrection. In the story of Christianity, we are the villains. We play the bad guys. Jesus is the hero. Hero and villains both cooperated on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection to generate the perfect understanding of God.

If you want to perfect your understanding of God, you will fail miserably by studying just the Crucifixion. God did not deposit a perfect understanding of God into the Crucifixion.

If you want to perfect your understanding of God, you will fail miserably by studying just the Resurrection. God did not deposit a perfect understanding of God into the Resurrection.

In order to achieve a perfect understanding of God, you must study the comparison of creature and Creator that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.

Become an advocate of love not by talking about it but by doing it. Become love done not love said (Matthew 5: 14-16).

Walk with Jesus on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Become a witness to the revolution that took place there. Testify about it. Save the world.

 

Evil begets Evil

The war that God is waging is a war against evil and its rotten fruit, suffering.

Evil is governed by the law of symmetry. The law of symmetry postulates that evil begets evil. Evil jumps the gap between evildoer and victim. It propagates itself, like a wildfire, consuming everyone in its path. Evil dislodges us from the level of our loving God and reduces us to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. Evil crushes us. It hammers us into the toxic soil of the Valley of Tears stopping our progress through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death and into the promised land dead in its tracks..

The serpent, jealous of God's love for us, tried to exploit the law of symmetry to empty God's most Sacred Heart of his love for us. Surely, the serpent reasoned, God's love for us would fade as we tortured his dearly beloved Son and would die when we killed him (Matthew 21:33-41).

The serpent's hypothesis, however, proved incorrect. His logic was flawed.

 

The Test

We put Jesus to the test (Deuteronomy 6:16) (Matthew 4:7) on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. It was a gruesome test. We dipped him into a toxic test tube of torture and death as a scientist dips a strip of litmus paper into a solution. We interrogated him with lash, thorns, nails and spear. We gave him the third degree. We shouted our sharp questions at him. 'Who are you, Jesus?' 'Identify yourself!''Friend or foe?' In the course of our interrogation, we impaled him on a Cross as a fisherman impales a live worm on a sharp hook. In the evil of the Valley of Tears, we baptized him (Matthew 3:11) (Matthew 3:13-17). [For more on the Test that Jesus Took, click here.]

 

The Results of the Test

In his gentle answer to the evil we did to him, Jesus whispered, 'I am your friend not your foe?' Jesus repealed the law of symmetry. He broke its back. Jesus refused to allow evil to jump the gap between him and us. From the results of the test, we learned that Jesus is the antithesis of evil. His answer to the evil that we did to him was asymmetric - radically asymmetric. He did not answer us in kind (Isaiah 55:8-9). Thankfully, he changed the tone of the conversation (1 Kings 19:11-13). The insanity of Christianity is Jesus's radically asymmetric answer to the evil we did to him. The sole proximate cause of the asymmetry was his love for us. Love made the equation asymmetrical - unequal. His love for us was the firewall that stood between our evil and him. He refused to allow our evil to dislodge him from the level of our loving God and reduce him to the level of the most hideous and miserable of loveless beast. Love turned him into a superman giving him the strength to deny himself, pick up and carry his cross through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death and into the promised land. His love for us is the game changer.

 
 

Can you articulate the specifics of The Test that Jesus Took on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection?

Can you articulate the specifics of the test? Can you put the details of the gruesome test into words? The test that Jesus took on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the epicenter of the earthquake called Christianity.

1) Where was the location of the test?

2) What was the nature of the test?

3) What were the results of the test?

4) What role did we play in the test?

5) What role did Jesus play in the test?

6) What landmarks did God erect to draw our attention to the test?

 

Letting us enjoy our "Eureka! moment" is the secret to Successful Evangelization

Do not spoon feed us the answer to the question, ‘Who is God?’. We are not children. Do not try to jam the doctrine of God down our throats. We will regurgitate it. Let us enjoy the pleasure of making the discovery for ourselves. Let us enjoy our 'Eureka! moment'. Tell us where to look not what you found. Get out of our way so we can dig up the treasure of Christianity for ourselves . Religion is done wrong when the Church treats us as children and religion as a trivial child’s game. Religion does not work when the Church gives us crayons, a coloring book whose drawings are divided into numbered parts and admonishes us to follow the numbers, to color within the lines or go to hell. Religion is a much richer endeavor than coloring within the lines.

Religion is intimate contact with the truth itself, both the sour truth and the sweet truth. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" . Intimate contact with the truth is the means by which God rescues us from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears. Contact with words about the truth is a poor substitute for intimate contact with the truth itself. There is a big difference between hearing about a house on fire and being in the house while it is on fire. A representation of reality does not pack the same persuasive punch as the reality itself.

Rationality steers the ship. The truth is the fuel of our rationality. When fueled by the the truth, our rationality steers us in the right direction. When the fuel of truth is fouled by a lie, our rationality leads us astray  . God is the artist who paints the masterpiece of reality on the canvas of our rationality in the pigments of truth.

Unfortunately, the sour truth has teeth. It bites. It chews us up into bits and pieces. All of the complaints against God's rescue plan originate from our intimate contact with the sour truth. Friction from our contact with the sour truth challenges the idea that God is our almighty lover.

Before the advent of the Love Note, intimate contact with the sour truth was the only means that God used to rescue us from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears. With the Love Note, God added intimate contact with the sweet truth as the second means that God uses to rescue us. The sour truth and the sweet truth are the belt and suspenders of salvation. Only one is needed. Pray, therefore, for more sweet truth and less sour truth.

The sour truth pushes us to the exit of godlessness. The sweet truth pulls us to the entrance of paradise. Together they produce the current of salvation. The current of salvation is a mighty river that sweeps us off of our feet and carries us to our salvation. Only a recalcitrant few swim against the current. Standing like a colossus at the nexus between the exit of godlessness and the entrance of paradise is Jesus. Through his bloody wounds the great leap is made from time to eternity (Our Lady of Good Success). He is the way (John 14:6). "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6).

 

The Apocalypse

As Jesus made his escape through the Valley of Tears on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, he deposited the Good News of Great Joy. There, he filled the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea . In a glorious burst of epiphany, Jesus illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God. Remarkably, he did not tell us about God in words. He showed us God in a demonstration of divinity. God was done not said. Jesus donned the jet pack and flew to show us that we, too, can fly. What a crazy daredevil this Jesus was! He hung from his cross to teach us how to hang from our crosses. He showed us the best way to pass through the evil of the Valley of Tears. He blazed the trail. Don't blaze your own trail through the wilderness. Follow him on the trail that he blazed. Even though we tortured and killed him, he clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He did not allow the evil we did to him to dislodge him from the level of our loving God and reduce him to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. He kept his most Sacred Heart filled to the brim with love for us. His love for us was the firewall that stopped the propagation of evil. He did not allow evil to jump the gap between us and him.

 

The Autobiography of God

It is ironic but the Word of God  wasn't an author. He was a carpenter . The Word of God did not write the Autobiography of God in words. The Word of God built the Autobiography of God into the framework of reality on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Have you read the Autobiograpy of God? Can you articulate its details? It is a short Autobiography consisting of just two chapters. The first chapter is entitled, 'The Crucifixion'. The last chapter is entitled, ''The Resurrection'. Together, they constitute the Autobiography of God. The Autobiography of God is the gospel without words. More was revealed to us about our God without any words in the demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection than in all of the words about God ever written. Jesus showed us divinity. The Autobiography of God is the story of God done not God said.

We put our God to the test on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. We impaled him on a Cross as insouciantly as a fisherman impales a live worm on a sharp hook. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. It was a gruesome test. Most, however, do not look beyond the gruesomeness of the test. They are fixated. Gruesomeness is all they see. Their attention is locked on to the test and never shifts to the results of the test. However, the results of the test contain incandescent truth that illuminates the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. In the results of the test, God showed us the beatific vision - at least as close to it as possible this side of death. We behold the nature of God in the results of the test. By participating in the test, Jesus filled the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea .

To catch a glimpse of the Beatific Vision - to meet God face-to-face , follow Jesus as he makes his escape through the Valley of Tears on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Witness the "showing" of divinity with your own two eyes. Become a witness to the truth. Testify to it. Save the world.

 

The Test and Its Results

The journey on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection started with a violent collision between Jesus, our Savior, and the evil we did to him. The violent collision was bigger than the Big Bang (Big Bang) and larger than CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC).  In the violent collision, we tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Ordinarily, death would mark the end of the journey, However, in the case of Jesus, not so. Death did not bring his journey to an end. He erupted from the black hole of death as incandescent lava explosively erupts from a volcano into the night sky. The violent collision was an engine that generated sparks of truth. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He emerged from death still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive revealed to us his power. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than power. Our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is also love - a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love (Isaiah 55:8-9) (Psalm 8:4-8). We learn from the revelation that Jesus released into the Valley of Tears as he proceeded from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection that God’s love for us is unlimited - unlimited in size, unlimited in scope and unlimited in duration. Limits to God’s love for us simply do not exist. They are illusions. His love for us is perfect. Not even the evil we did to him could extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in his most sacred heart nor diminish its intensity by even the slightest degree. The unlimited length, breadth and depth of God’s love for us is the good news of great joy. It is the honey that draws the bees back home to the hive. God’s power made paradise for us. However, his love for us is the ingredient that makes paradise sweet. Rational creatures seek the sweetness of paradise. It is contrary to their self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise. Witness the truth by watching the traffic through his bloody wounds. We poked holes in his body with lash, thorns, nails and spear. Buckets of blood spilled through the holes. On a cataract of blood, his life itself exited his body. But not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us followed his blood through the holes and out of his body. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us (John 13:1). Because his most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us, he was able to say, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). In fact, his cup of love runneth over like the dewfall (Luke 22:20) (Psalm 23:5) (Deuteronomy 32:2) (Father William Saunders). It overwhelms us. From his heart, our hearts receive a transfusion of love. The transfusion of love is invigorating. It vivifies us. It brings the dead to life (Luke 15:32) (John 3:3). Love begets love. According to the law of symmetry, love propagates itself, like a wave, from lover to beloved. "We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4: 19). The insanity of Christianity is Jesus's radically asymmetric answer to the evil we did to him. Thankfully, there was no backlash. We lit the fuse to the bomb of revenge, retaliation and retribution. But it did not detonate. It was a dud. He did not answer the evil we did to him in kind (Isaiah 55:8-9). He changed the tone of the conversation (1 Kings 19:11-13). The evil that we did to him did not transform him from our friend into our foe. It did not reduce him from the level of our loving God to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts. He did not pull his offer of paradise off the table. He did not cancel his plan to rescue us from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears. The evil that we did to him ought to have rendered us ineligible for his gifts. It ought to have disqualified us. But it did not (Luke 15:22-24). Hallelujah! God continues to love us nonetheless (Jeremiah 31:3). The gift giver continues to offer us his gifts. Therefore, return to God. Like him, fill your hearts to the brim with love. In this way, you rise from the dead and are born again. Let the merriment begin (Luke 15:22-24)

 
The Crucifixion and the Resurrection are not isolated, autonomous, independent events. The Crucifixion and the Resurrection are bound together - parts of a whole - two sides of one coin - two wings of the same bird. They work in concert with each other. They cooperate together to produce the answer to the question, 'Who is God?'. In the ballroom of our rationality, a beautiful, symbiotic dance of question and answer weaves its way through his bloody wounds like to connect the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together into a conversation. The conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection was a special type of conversation. We call it an interrogation. We gave him the third degree and he confessed - he spilled the beans. He filled the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea . The Crucifixion was the harsh question that we shouted at him with lash, thorns, nails and spear. We asked him to reveal his identify to us. "Who are you, Jesus?" "Identify yourself." "Friend or foe?" He answered, "Friend not foe."
The Road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the epicenter of Christianity. It is the Sacred Ground where Jesus built the Autobiography of God into the framework of reality. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, Jesus filled the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea . We enjoy close encounters with the sweetness of paradise on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection - there we experience for ourselves intimate contact with the sweet truth that Is Jesus. He dilutes the sourness of the Valley of Tears in the same way that sugar cubes dilute the bitterness of a cup of coffee.
Crucifixion Resurrection
First half of the process that answered the question, 'Who is God'?. The events that took place on the near side of the Cross a/k/a on the near side of his bloody wounds. Second half of the process that answered the question, 'Who is God'?. The events that took place on the far side of the Cross a/k/a on the far side of his bloody wounds.
The first chapter of the Autobiography of God The last chapter of the Autobiography of God
We put Jesus to the Test The results of the Test
We supplied the evil to the transaction Jesus refused to allow evil to jump the gap between us and him. He became a brick of love - the cornerstone - in the firewall against evil. He refused a demotion. He refused to let evil dislodge him from the level of our loving God and reduce him to the level of the most hideous and miserable of loveless beast.
We shouted sharp questions at Jesus with lash, thorns, nails and spear Jesus whispered a gentle answer back to us. He did not answer us in kind. He changed the tone of the conversation. His answer was asymmetrical, radically asymmetrical.
We impaled him on a Cross as insouciantly as a fisherman impales a live worm on a sharp hook. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He rose from the dead still alive and still in love with us. This is the beatific vision. This is the knowledge of God with which Jesus filled the earth on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection as the waters cover the sea .
A violent collision between Jesus and the evil we did to him. The violent collision was bigger than the Big Bang and larger than the Large Hadron Collider Incandescent truth erupted that illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany.
The key that unlocks the treasure of Christianity. Jesus is the treasure chest. The treasure is His love for us.
We baptized Jesus in evil. Jesus emerged still alive and still in love with us. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us.
We lit the fuse to the bomb of revenge, retaliation and retribution It was a dud. It did not detonate. The evil that we did to him did not transform him from our friend into our foe. It did not reduce him from the level of our loving God to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts. He did not pull his offer of paradise off the table. He did not cancel his plan to rescue us from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears.
We launched a freight train of evil at him. He saw it coming (Luke 22:42). Remarkably, he stood in its path. He did not flinch. He did not cower. He did not jump out of the way. He took evil on the chin (Isaiah 50:6). He stood firm and, by standing firm, stopped evil's progress dead in its tracks. He suffered and died but evil did not jump the gap between us and him. It did not transmogrify him into the most hideous and the most miserable of loveless beasts.
Our crosses have teeth. They bite. His cross chewed him up into bits and pieces. He did not just tell us. He showed us the best way to make our escape through the evil of the Valley of Tears. Jesus blazed the trail. He hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from our crosses. He donned the jet pack and flew to show us that we too can fly. What a crazy daredevil this Jesus was! He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. Cling as Jesus clung to love, evil's invincible foe. Put a heart filled to the brim with love between you and your crosses. The ride through the Valley of Tears is rough with a heart deflated of love. Therefore, for a smooth ride, inflate your deflated hearts with love. Don't ride through the Valley of Tears with a flat tire. Love is the grease that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the Valley of Tears.
Buckets of blood spilled through the wounds that our evil opened in his body. A cataract of blood carried his very life through the wounds and out of his body Yet, not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us followed his blood through the wounds. His most most Sacred Heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us.
 

Is the Lord, God, in our midst?

Is the Lord, God, in your midst ? If not, how do we get him there?

 

What is the reason to worship God?

Do not worship God because he is God. His divinity is not reason enough. Do not worship God because of his power. His power is not reason enough. Worship God because God loves you dearly. He is head over heels in love with you. His power built paradise for us but his love for us makes paradise sweet. Power demands respect but love demands love. We worship him when we love him and our neighbors .

 

To answer the question, ‘Who is God?’, God sent us a love note

Many false, inaccurate and conflicting pictures of God circulate through the minds of the children of Adam and Eve. The multiplicity of pictures creates confusion. “This is God” some say as they point to their favorite picture of God. Others point to a different picture and say, “No, this is God.” The controversy goes on ad infinitum. Because of the confusion, the most Holy Trinity desired to set the record straight once and forever. They decided to clear the air. They decided to dispatch the Son of God to earth from heaven to put before us the "similitude" of God for us to behold. Jesus paid us a visit to reveal God to us. To answer the question, ‘Who is God?’, God sent us a love note.

 

Where is the Treasure of Christianity Located?

To rescue us from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears, God built an escape route, defined it with holy places, made a map of them, established a Church and entrusted the map to the Church. Christianity has the map and knows the way. The map is a treasure map for treasure hunters engaged in a treasure hunt. On the treasure map, a cross marks the spot of the treasure . To pinpoint the precise location of the treasure of Christianity, God erected a landmark. God planted the Cross of Christ in the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection to serve as the flag that rallies Christians to the Son of God. Rally 'round the Cross!

 

The Gospel without Words

More important than the Gospel written in words is the Gospel without words. The Gospel without words was preached through his bloody wounds on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The evil we did to him opened the mouth of God. His bloody wounds are the mouth of God. Witness the truth by watching the traffic through his bloody wounds. What passed through his bloody wounds and, more importantly, what did not? What are his bloody wounds trying to tell us? What do they say?

 

The Only Pilgrimage Worth Making

The only pilgrimage that is essential for a Christian to make is a pilgrimage with Jesus on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.

 

The Only Sermon Worth Preachng

The only sermon worth preaching is a sermon about the test that Jesus took on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. In the test, Jesus taught us the best way to deal with the evil we encounter as we pass through the Valley of Tears. He did not just tell us. He showed us. He donned the jet pack and flew to show us that we, too, can fly. What a crazy daredevil this Jesus was!

 
 

We Occupy Ground Zero

When the bomb of revenge, retaliation and retribution detonates within us, we get damaged or destroyed in the blast. We are at ground zero. The recommendation that Jesus makes to love our enemies is made for our benefit not just for the benefit of our enemies. Love is in our self-interest. Love makes sense. Rational creatures refuse to detonate when the fuse is lit. We reject the temptation to explode. Christians are duds. We are duds because we do not want to self-destruct. We know that we occupy a place within the radius of the blast.

 

The Advanced, Alien Technology that Jesus Transported from Heaven to Earth to arm us for our encounters with evil as we pass through the Valley of Tears

The Valley of Tears is the ruins of Eden. It is the vessel that holds the evil in which we stew for a lifetime like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine. The Valley of Tears is as foul as Eden was fair - as hostile as Eden was hospitable. As we pass through the Valley of Tears, we eat the bread of adversity and drink the water of affliction . The rod is not spared on the children of Adam and Eve in the Valley of Tears. Spare the rod and spoil the children . In the Valley of Tears, life is, indeed, "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." We receive a baptism by fire in the Valley of Tears . In the Valley of Tears, we put our fingers into the flames to learn for ourselves that the fire is hot. We come into intimate contact with the sour truth in the Valley of Tears. Unfortunately, the sour truth has teeth. It bites. It chews us up into bits and pieces.

What is the best way to handle our encounters with evil as we pass through the Valley of Tears?

Jesus invaded the Valley of Tears to mitigate the direness of our predicament in the same way that sugar cubes dilute the bitterness of a cup of coffee. Jesus hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from our crosses. He commandeered a cross, the instrument of our woe, and reconfigured it into an instrument of his woe to teach us the best way to handle evil. He did not just tell us; he showed us. He donned the jet pack and flew to show us that we too can fly. What a crazy daredevil this Jesus was! He demonstrated the best way to handle evil in the test that he took on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Even though we tortured and killed him, he clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He kept his most sacred heart filled to the brim with love. He loved us to the end . By keeping his heart filled to the brim with love for us, he was able to say "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" .

Therefore, in our encounters with evil, cling as Jesus clung, hold tight and refuse to let go of love, evil's invincible foe .

The recommendation that Jesus made from the platform of the cross was not a recommendation that we embrace suffering - the rotten fruit of evil. The recommendation was to love our way through evil. Jesus is teaching us to refuse evil's attempt to transmogrify us into the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. He is telling us to maintain our grip on love - to keep our hearts filled to the brim with love.

We are made in the image and likeness of God . He endowed us with the capacity to love. The greater the love that we hold in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God. A saint is a child of Adam and Eve who bears an uncanny resemblance to God. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" . When we fill our hearts to the brim with love, we perfect our resemblance to God .

Too many mistakenly think that Jesus wants us to pay the cost of love out of our own pockets so our enemies can enjoy the benefits of love. Doing this, seems unfair to us until we realize that the benefits of love acrue to us not just to our enemies. When Jesus made the recommendation to love our enemies, Jesus was looking out for our welfare not the welfare of our enemies. Love is in our self-interest. We are the beneficiaries when we cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go - when we refuse to be dislodged from the level of our loving God and reduced to the level of the most hideous and miserable of loveless beast . Shakespeare said it best (Portia in Shakespeare's the Merchant Of Venice Act 4, Scene 1), “The quality of mercy is not strain’d, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

The Son of God did not transport and demonstrate pie-in-the-sky, head-in-the-clouds technology. He transported and demonstrated down-to-earth, practical technology. We can use it today, not just tomorrow, profitably. It is relevant to this world not just to the next.

Furthermore, the technology is platform agnostic. It works whether you are a Roman Catholic, other Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Pagan, Atheist, Saint, Sinner or something else. It is open source technology. It is catholic in the broadest sense of the word. No religion has a monopoly over it. Furthermore, no conditions need to be satisfied before it can be used.

Love is the 'grease' that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the Valley of Tears.

The ride through the Valley of Tears is rough with a heart deflated of love. Therefore, for a smooth ride, inflate your deflated hearts with love. Don't ride through the Valley of Tears with a flat tire.

 

The Dial of Love

The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Furthermore, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even the evil we did to him could budge it. Our power is limited. We do not have the power to dislodge him from the level of our loving God and demote him to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts. He refused a demotion to show us that we can refuse too. Jesus hung from his cross to teach us how to hang from our crosses. When you hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung, hold tight and refuse to let go of love, evil's invincible foe. Only love kicks evil's ass.

 

Love Makes the Desert Bloom

Like the Jews, we are making our escape in a new exodus through the hostile desert of godlessness from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his Holy Family in the promised land. Along the way, God established holy places. The holy places are outposts of the Kingdom of God. They are vessels where love accumulates. They are the reservoirs from which we irrigate the Valley of Tears with love. Love makes the desert bloom.The holy places are oasis of paradise that decorate the hostile desert of godlessness like the jewels of a beautiful necklace. They form the needle of a compass that always points in the direction of God. Only by moving from holy place to holy place can we be sure that we are heading in the right direction.

 

The War against Deification

The war that the serpent is waging against humanity is a war against love. The serpent wants us to empty our hearts of love. God wants us to fill our hearts to the brim with love. The serpent wants to imprison us on the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. He wants to cage us into the Valley of Tears where life is, indeed, "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." A life without love is a life spent in poverty. God wants to make us rich . God wants to free us from our imprisonment in the Valley of Tears. He want to break our chains so we can rise to the level of paradise - to the level of our loving God. Whether we succeed or fail is up to us. God blazed a trail through the Valley of Tears from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his Holy Family in the promised land. Love is the "grease" that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the Valley of Tears. Fools try to blaze their own trail through the hostile desert of godlessness. They wander in the wilderness. The wise follow the trail that Jesus blazed. Are you foolish or wise?

 

The Power of Evil is Limited

The power of evil is limited. It can only transmogrify us into the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts if we permit it. We can refuse to surrender to it the love we hold in our hearts. We can refuse a demotion. We can cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go. This is the only victory that matters to God. Jesus succeeded. How about you?

 

The Source of Ignition

To kindle fire, fire is needed. His love for us is the spark that inflames. "We love him, because he first loved us." . Love begets love. To inflate our deflated hearts with love, Jesus loved us while we were still sinners . The hand of God reached down from heaven into the Valley of Tears to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts to lift us up and place us on the level of our loving God. God stooped so we can rise. God wants to lift us up from the basement to the penthouse of the kingdom of God. Let yourself be lifted up . Inflate your deflated hearts with love. Transform your hearts into flotation devices that lift you up and out of our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears.

 

Going on Safari

Love is not thinking about going on safari or reading about it or talking about it. Love is going on safari. Love is field work not classroom work. Love is done.

 

Evil Offers Us a Demotion. Refuse it!

We can pass through life on the high road or the low road. We can occupy either of two distinct levels in life. We can occupy the level of our loving God or we can occupy the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. Evil puts us to the test (Luke 22:40). Evil does damage to us - terrible damage. The worst damage that evil does to us is that it drains our hearts of love. It tramsmogrifies the loving into the loveless. It tries to demote us from the level of our loving God to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. Refuse the demotion. Keep your heart filled to the brim with love. When the sharp teeth of your crosses are chewing you up into bits and pieces, cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go. Cling as Jesus clung to love. Jesus refused the demotion. The evil we did to him did not dislodge him from the level of our loving God. It did not deflate his inflated heart of love. In each of us is a trap door through which we can fall into the madness of the never ending and ever escalating cycle of evil. Victory in life comes from avoiding the fall through the trap door. Love and love alone prevents our fall. Love seals the trap door shut. Avoiding the fall is the only victory that matters to God. His Son succeeded. How about you?

 

Jesus Turned Himself Into a Firewall of Love to Stop the Propagation of Evil

Our God is different than us . When evil is done to us, at the very least, it pisses us off. It antagonizes us. It earns the evildoers a place on our shit list. It provokes our instinct for justice. It triggers our reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution. Our instinct instructs us to respond to evil in kind. "An eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot . But not so with God. Not so. One of the innovations that Jesus transported from heaven to us in the Valley of Tears here on earth was the technology of the firewall. To stop the propagation of evil from us to him, Jesus became a firewall of love. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. Jesus did not answer the evil we did to him in kind. He did not give us a taste of our own medicine. He changed the tone of the conversation . His answer to the evil we did to him was radically asymmetric. His love for us was the sole proximate cause of the asymmetry.

 

How Do We Prepare Ourselves to do Battle with Evil?

Evil attacks us from the outside in. Its goal is to deflate our hearts of love. It tries to transmogrify us into the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. It tries to dislodge us from the level of our loving God. Evil tries to throw us down into the basement of the kingdom of God. Resist the demotion! To do battle with evil, work from the inside out not from the outside in. Cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go. Success in life is filling your heart to the brim with love. Do not measure it in any other way.

 

How Do We Prepare Ourselves to Receive the Gift of Paradise?

Open the door of your heart to Jesus. Let him enter and dwell there . From God’s heart, our hearts receive a transfusion of love. The transfusion of love is invigorating. It vivifies us. It brings the dead to life. The location of the Kingdom of God is within us . When we fill our hearts to the brim with love, we are born again into the Kingdom of God . Love deifies us. Therefore, Jesus wants us to download love from the Cross of Christ and fill our hearts to the brim with it . Download and install. The Cross of Christ is the Github of heaven at which the source code for success in life is kept.

 

What is our Priority?

Not all aspects of Christianity are equal. Some are more important than others . Truth exists within a hierarchy of truths. Which truth is the top priority? Which truth is at the top of the list? We can spend time, energy and effort on those aspects of Christianity in the middle or toward the bottom of the list. However, we incur opportunity costs in doing so. Our time, energy and effort is limited. The more time, energy and effort that we spend on aspects of Christianity in the middle or at the bottom of the list, the less opportunity we have to spend time, energy and effort on the aspect of Christianity at the top of the list. What is at the top of the list? The test that God used as his vehicle to deliver to us the good news of great joy - the test that dropped a bombshell of revelation about the nature of God into the Valley of Tears - the test that produced truths whose incandescense illuminates the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. Make pilgrimage with Jesus on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Witness with your own two eyes the test that took place there. Testify to the location, nature and results of the test. Save the world.

 

What is the Greatest Prayer?

The greatest prayer is love.

Are you praying?

 
“The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.”
— Psalm 14: 2
 

What is life all about?
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Like Jesus, We, Too, Pass Through Life on the Road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. All of Us. No Exceptions.

Crucifixion precedes Resurrection. Baptism precedes rebirth. We are baptized in the Valley of Tears before we are born again into the Kingdom of God. There is no shortcut by which we can avoid the Valley of Tears. It is not a Maginot Line that we can go around. There is no bridge over it or tunnel under it. We must pass through it. As meat passes through a grinder, we pass through it. As grist passes through a mill, we pass through it. No exceptions.

The truth comes in two flavors like the pork in a Chinese restaurant, 1) sweet and 2) sour. The Yin does not exist without the Yang (Wikipedia). The sour truth is hostile. It has teeth. It bites. It chews us up into bits and pieces. The sweet truth is hospitable. To hold the truth and seperate the sweet truth and the sour truth, God created two vessels. Eden was the vessel that God created to hold the sweet truth. The Valley of Tears was the vessel that God created to hold the sour truth.

God’s power built Eden for Adam, Eve and their children. God’s love for them, however, was the ingredient that made Eden sweet. Power begets respect but love begets love. Love inflates deflated hearts with love. The most Sacred Heart of God overflows with love. His cup runneth over like the dewfall (Luke 22:20) (Psalm 23:5). From God’s heart our hearts receive a transfusion of love. The transfusion of love is invigorating. It vivifies us. It brings the dead to life. In Eden, love is the blood that circulates through the bodies of its inhabitants. Love is life (John 10:10) - the breath of life itself (Genesis 2:7).

The Valley of Tears (Hail Holy Queen) is as foul as Eden was fair - as hostile as Eden was hospitable. As we pass through the Valley of Tears, we eat the bread of adversity and drink the water of affliction (Isaiah 30:20-22). The rod is not spared on the children of Adam and Eve in the Valley of Tears. Spare the rod and spoil the children (Proverbs 13:24) (Hebrews 12:5-11).

In Eden, God shielded Adam and Eve from the sour truth. He protected them from the fire that is burning uncontrollably in the Valley of Tears. He kept them out of contact with it. The serpent, however, was jealous of Adam and Eve’s prosperity in Eden. So he decided to ruin it. The serpent smuggled the first monster into Eden. It was not native to Eden. It did not exist there. It was a creature of the Valley of Tears. The monster that the serpent introduced into Eden was the lie (John 8:44). The lie distorts our perception of reality. Rationality steers the ship. The truth is the fuel of our rationality. When fueled by the the truth, our rationality steers us in the right direction. When the fuel of truth is fouled by a lie, our rationality leads us astray (John 8:44).

To induce Adam and Eve to exit Eden and enter the Valley of Tears, the serpent fed their rationality with a lie. The serpent poured sugarcoating over the sour truth of the Valley of Tears that distorted their perception of reality. He poured the cloying syrup of falsehood over it. The sugarcoating was the serpent’s testimony that they would become gods without God in the Valley of Tears (Genesis 3:5). He promised them deification. He lied big.

Adam and Eve were born and raised in the truth. They were strangers to the sour truth of the Valley of Tears. They had absolutely no personal experience with its toxicity. Moreover, falsehood was a monster that they never encountered in Eden. Falsehood was not a blip on their radar. The existence of falsehood was a far-fetched hypothetical theory that never even crossed their minds. God did not warn them against the monster of falsehood. God made them innocent - without guile (John 1:47) (Matthew 18:2-4). God did not equip them with a defense mechanism against falsehood. To do so would have spoiled their innocence. Nor had such a defense mechanism evolved in them. There was no need for skepticism or cynicism. Before the advent of the serpent, nobody had ever lied to them (John 8:44).

Their only knowledge of the Valley of Tears came from hearsay, conflicting testimony about it, God's (Genesis 3:3) and the serpent's (Genesis 3:5). The serpent’s testified that they would become gods without God in the Valley of Tears (Genesis 3:5). God testified that without God in the Valley of Tears, they would perish (Genesis 3:3).

The conflicting testimony confused Adam and Eve.

To resolve the conflict in the testimony, Adam and Eve decided to conduct their own investigation. They would make their own inquiry. They decided to discover the truth for themselves (John 20:29).

In retrospect, it is easy for us back seat drivers and arm chair quarterbacks to say that they ought to have taken God at his word and rejected the serpent’s testimony - but only in retrospect. At the time, how to resolve the conflict in the testimony was not clear. Trying to learn the truth for themselves was not an unreasonable course of action especially given that this was the first time that they encountered the monster of falsehood and failed to recognize it. How else would the jury resolve the conflict in testimony and reach a verdict other than by their own investigation? Flip a coin?

So, into the flames Adam and Eve put their fingers to learn for themselves whether or not the fire was hot. In doing so, they discovered the word, Ouch! For the first time, they met the sour truth. They found out that the truth could be sour as well as sweet.

And our loving God lets it happen (The Problem of Evil). Why? Why did our loving God let it happen? To answer this question, it is necessary to solve the problem of evil. Shall we?

Supremely confident in the liberating power of the truth, God let Adam and Eve conduct their own investigation. He did not stand in the way. He did not stop them. Even though an expedition of exploration into the Valley of Tears was contrary to their self-interest, he was unwilling to turn paradise into a prison, himself into a warden and them into prisoners to keep them in paradise. A cage is still a cage no matter how gilded. Nor did he drag them back to paradise against their wills while they kicked and screamed like recalcitrant children. He let their exercise of free will play out. God knew that in the course of their investigation they would learn the truth and the truth would make them free (John 8:32). They would learn the truth the hard way. Instead of accepting God's word, they would would figure out the truth for themselves. Figuring out the truth for ourselves is the highest form of persuasion. Contact with words about the truth is a poor substitute for contact with the truth itself even though the words come from an impeccable source, that is, God himself.

Our baptism in the hostile truth of the Valley of Tears is effective medicine - harsh but effective medicine. The medicine works so God prescribes it.

1) The hostile truth of the Valley of Tears proves that the serpent’s testimony was false and God’s testimony was true (Genesis 3:3) (Genesis 3:5) It defangs the serpent. It drains the serpent's lie (Genesis 3:3) of its power to deceive. It unmasks the lie and the liar (John 8:44). It slays the monster of falsehood. It shatters the sugarcoating that the serpent poured over the hostile truth of the Valley of Tears as the blow of a sledgehammer shatters glass.

2) It increases the credibility of God. God warned us that the Valley of Tears sucked. Deification is a gift from God not the serpent.

3) The prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty. He knows better (Luke 15:11-32). Neither will we. When the gift of paradise is given to us, we will keep it. We will not fumble the ball. We will not repeat the original sin of our parents, Adam and Eve. We will not let the gift of paradise slip through our fingers as Lucifer did, as the gaggle of angels who follow Lucifer did, as Eve did, as Adam did and as the prodigal son did.

Furthermore, our loving God, in his mercy, took steps to mitigate the toxicity of the Valley of Tears. The sweet truth mitigates the sourness of godlessness. It blunts the sharp edges of the crosses that besiege us as we pass through the Valley of Tears.

1) God made life brief. The brevity of life proves the mercy of God. A philanthropic God puts an upper limit - a lifetime - on our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears. Life is but an infinitesimally thin slice of time compared to the thickness of eternity.

2) God sent us a Love Note to dilute the toxicity of the Valley of Tears in the same way that sugar cubes dilute the bitterness of a cup of coffee. In the fullness of time, God sent his Son to drop a bombshell of revelation into the Valley of Tears. He dropped the bombshell on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection (Luke 9:31). Its explosion illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany (John 1:5) (Psalm 43:3). In a demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, Jesus showed us that God is head over heals in love with us. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, we catch a glimpse of the beatific vision - at least as close to it as possible this side of the Red Sea of death.

3) Jesus hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from our crosses. Despite the evil we did to him, He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. Therefore, when you hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung, love as Jesus loved. Hold tight and refuse to let go of love, sufferings invincible foe. Like Jesus, fill your hearts to the brim with love (Matthew 6:30 - 33) so you can fill the space you occupy with love. Only love kicks sufferings a@@.

Remember Eden. Hitch your wagon to God. Invite God into your patch of the Valley of Tears. “What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God."  (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756).

 

The Only Ordination that Matters

No religion has a monopoly over the truth. The truth is open source - available to all - free to all. The only ordination that matters is to be ordained by the truth (Matthew 3:9). Only the truth makes ontological changes in our perception of reality. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Become a witness to the truth - both the sour truth and the sweet truth. Testify to it. Save the world.

The truth is the engine that drives the new exodus along the escape route through the Valley of Tears from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his Holy Family in the promised land. The engines of truth generate the current of salvation. The current of salvation flows from the sourness of godlessness to the sweetness of paradise. The mighty river of truth sweeps us off our feet and carries us to our salvation. Only the recalcitrant few try to swim against it.

The Sour Truth pushes us to the exit of godlessness.

The Sweet Truth pulls us to the entrance of paradise.

Standing like a colossus in the Red Sea of Death - at the nexus between the exit of godlessness and the entrance of paradise - is Jesus. Through his bloody wounds the great leap is made from time to eternity (Our Lady of Good Success). He is the way (John 14:6). "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

 

On God's palette sit two pigments of truth.

 

What role does the sour truth play in preparing us to receive the gift of paradise? What role does the sweet truth play in preparing us to receive the gift of paradise?

 

God is the artist who paints the masterpiece of reality on the canvas of our rationality in the pigments of truth.

 

God uses both the sour truth and the sweet truth to make sure we keep the gift of paradise when it is delivered to us.

 

Religion

Religion is a concoction of ‘make believe’ and truth. The ‘make believe’ is the dangerous part of religion. It contaminates it. The truth is the important part. The difficulty is distinguishing the ‘make believe’ from the truth. It is the responsibility of the children of Adam and Eve not to be thrown off course by the ‘make believe’ - to not blindly swallow everything our clerics tell us hook, line and sinker. Much of religion is cool-aide. Don’t drink it. Religion is not God although our clerics like to identify themselves with God to arrogate to themselves the power that the identification brings them. Fear made a witch doctor an important member of a tribe. Approach religion as an adult not as a child. Approach God as a child not as an adult. Look for the truth in religion to clear the cobwebs from your perception of reality. Let the truth fuel your rationality and your rationality steer the ship.

What do We Put Between Us and Our Crosses?

One of the reasons Jesus paid us a visit was to teach us to put a heart filled to the brim with love between us and our crosses. “What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God."  (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756).

 

Shiny Trifles

As we pass through the Valley of Tears, shiny trifles dangle around us. They are dead, empty tombs - empty of love. Avoid them. They are red herrings. Do not seek the living among the dead (Luke 24:5). Seek only the rhythmic beat of the loving heart of our living God! And hearts that have received a transfusion of love from him. The transfusion of love is invigorating. It vivifies us. It brings the dead to life. Tap into the love circulating through the body of Christ. Siphon it off. Inflate your deflated hearts with love.

 

Fear not! The Script is Already Written
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Fear not! The Script is already Written.

Indeed, the Valley of Tears is a scary place. Yet, fear not. Isn't the script already written? Have you not read the script? Will our immutable God rewrite the script? The exodus of the Jews is a powerful allegory that the genius of God embedded into the history of humanity to inform us about the destiny of the children of Adam and Eve who participate in the new exodus. The Jews made their escape through the hostile desert. So, too, Christians. We are making our escape through the Valley of Tears (Psalm 23:4), across the Red Sea of death, the worst and the last of our crosses (1 Corinthians 15:26), and into the promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 13:27). Standing like a colossus in the middle of the Red Sea of Death is Jesus. He stands at the nexus between the exit of godlessness and the entrance of paradise. Through his bloody wounds the great leap is made from time to eternity (Our Lady of Good Success). He is the way (John 14:6). "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6). The new exodus is marching hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm together as one family to the rhythmic beat of the loving heart of our living God! In the script, the Red Sea of Death is parted for us. Rejoice and be glad!

 

What exactly is the nature of our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears
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Diagnosis Precedes Treatment; A Question precedes an Answer

In order to apply a solution, it is first necessary to identify the problem. To apply a treatment, it is first necessary to diagnose the pathology. We cannot answer a question unless the question is first formulated. What is the problem that Christianity is trying to solve? What is the solution that Christianity offers to solve the problem?

Is our problem getting the gift of paradise or keeping it? Lucifer received the gift of paradise but fumbled the ball. So did the gaggle of angels who follow Lucifer; so did Eve; so did Adam; and so did the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). Does the evidence suggest that the problem is in the “getting” or in the “keeping” of the gift of paradise?

 

The Oxymoron

RECONCILIng A Loving God and the existence of Evil

The trick to a proper understanding of God is to reconcile the delay in our rescue from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears and a God who is head over heals in love with us. The two ideas appear to be irreconcilable. In fact, they are not. There is an explanation.

 

Reconciling Two Seemingly Incompatible Facts

Our crosses have sharp tongues. Their sharp tongues taunt us. They push the serpent’s logic. If God loved you, wouldn’t he rescue you from your dire predicament in the Valley of Tears? He doesn’t rescue you, therefore, he doesn’t love you. This is powerful logic. It is highly persuasive. While the teeth of our crosses are chewing us up into bits and bits and our Savior is nowhere in sight, we form the opinion that we are loveless - forsaken (Psalm 22: 1). The serpent’s logic is so powerful that it overwhelmed the Son of God himself (Mark 15:34). However, the serpent’s logic is a specious lie  (John 8:44). God loves us dearly. This revelation was released into the Valley of Tears on the road that Jesus took from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. It was one of the apocalyptic truths that erupted from the violent collision between Jesus and the evil that we did to him. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stop loving us. He emerged from the dead still in love with us. By keeping his heart filled to the brim with love for us, he was able to say "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). Contrary to the logic of the serpent, the truth is that God loves us dearly. The conundrum is the reconciliation of two seemingly incompatible facts 1) a loving God and 2) a lack of rescue. Why does our loving God allow the teeth of our crosses to chew us up into bits and pieces? Can we solve the problem of evil?

 

Two Different Conceptions of our Dire Predicament: God’s and Ours

God's conception of our "problem" is different than our conception of our "problem" so God's conception of the solution is different than our conception of the solution (Isaiah 55:8-9). Eradication or evacuation is the solution we want. We want God to eradicate the army of hostile crosses that besieges us as we pass through the Valley of Tears or to evacuate us from the Valley of Tears now. God, however, does not. God has a different agenda. Our instinct instructs us to respond to evil in kind. "An eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot (Exodus 21:24.)  God wants us to deny our instinct, to pick up and to carry our crosses (Matthew 16:24). There is a difference in opinions. His prevails.

 

Our Education Among Our Crosses

We want to avoid our crosses. God wants us to deal with them? Why? There is only one way to deal with a cross. Love. Love turns us into superman with the strength to deny ourselves, to pick up and carry our crosses (Matthew 16:24). By dealing with our crosses, we learn to love. By avoiding them, we learn nothing. When the sharp teeth of a cross starts to chew us up into bits and pieces, know that school is now in session.

 

Mastication versus Deflation

What exactly makes our predicament in the Valley of Tears dire? Mastication by the teeth of our crosses is our perception of the problem. Deflation of our loveless hearts is God’s perception of our problem. God is trying to solve our problem as he perceives it. Solve the problem of deflated hearts and everything else gets solved in the wake of the solution (Matthew 6:30 - 33). “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekial 36:26).

 

Inflating our Deflated Hearts with Love

Jesus came to fix the flat. He wants to pump love into the tire. He is trying to inflate our deflated hearts with love. The byproduct of filling our hearts to the brim with love is morality. Love bears fruit some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty (Matthew 13:23). The path to morality passes through the heart. Any attempt to do morality that bypasses the heart fails. It gets lost. Love is the compass that is necessary to navigate through the fields of morality.

 

Jesus Defeated the Serpent

Jesus defeated evil not by stopping it from poking holes in his body. He did not escape being chewed into bits and pieces by the sharp teeth of his cross. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. The evil baptism into which we immersed him was horribly real. Jesus defeated evil in a different way. He turned the tables on evil. He answered the evil we did to him asymmetrically. The asymmetry of his answer was radical. Jesus defeated evil by refusing to let his love for us spill through the holes that we poked in his body. He simply refused to let evil transmogrify him into the most horrible and miserable of loveless beast. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He kept his heart filled to the brim with love. The victory was that he continued to love us nonetheless.

 

God did not invade the Valley of Tears to Establish another Government here on earth
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God Wanted To Do It Differently

God is not the king who rules us. God is the king who loves us. The Son of God did not invade the Valley of Tears to establish another government here upon the earth (John 18:3) to issue its own stultifying codex of byzantine rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole. God kept it simple. God did it differently. In place of rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole, the means by which God governs us is love. Love begets love. In the kingdom of the king who loves us, the citizens govern themselves. We desire to please him. We trip all over ourselves in our eagerness to please him (John 18:36). The Church and its clerics are wise to do likewise. 

 

The Wrong Approach

The Church fails when it tries to govern us with laws and not with love. Love is the law that Jesus came to fulfill (Matthew 5:17-20). When the Church elevates the law over love, it becomes just another government upon the earth. We do not need another government trying to lord it over us (Matthew 20:25). We need a king who loves us not a king who rules us. Until the Church and its clerics themselves practice sacrificial love, they will not escape from their decline. To rebound, they must learn to love again.

 

Filling the Space He Shares with Us with Love

God invaded the Valley of Tears to fill the space he shares with us with love.

 

The ‘Grease’

Love is the "grease" that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death, the worst and the last of our crosses (1 Corinthians 15:26) and into the promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 13:27).

 

The Ride Through the Valley of Tears

The ride through the Valley of Tears is rough with a heart deflated of love. Therefore, for a smooth ride, inflate your deflated hearts with love.

 

God initiated the execution of his rescue plan the moment Adam and Eve exited Eden
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The Good News of Great Joy

God plans to deliver the gift of paradise to us just as he delivered the gift of paradise to Adam and Eve. God will not be less generous with us than he was with them. Adam and Eve were the first beneficiaries of God’s love for us. They were not the last. God’s philanthropy did not end with Adam and Eve; God’s philanthropy began with them. This is good news of great joy - very good news for us indeed.

 

Plan ‘B’ - God’s Backup Plan

Plan ‘B’ was Plan ‘A’ before the advent of Jesus Christ. Before the advent of Jesus Christ, only one rescue plan was being executed. Now there are two.

God installed a fail-safe into his rescue plan (2 Peter 3:9). God has a backup plan. Plan 'A' is to inflate our deflated hearts with love. In case Plan 'A' does not work, God also has a Plan 'B'. Plan 'B' is put into play in case we fail to fill our hearts to the brim with love. What is Plan 'B'? Stewing in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears decreases to near zero the likelihood that we will let the gift of paradise slip through our fingers when God delivers it to us. Its delivery is ineluctable. The only question is whether we will let the gift of paradise slip through our fingers as Lucifer did, as the gaggle of angels who follow Lucifer did, as Eve did, as Adam did and as the prodigal son did. Stewing in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears inoculates us against the disease of post delivery paradise opt-out (PDPOO). Our baptism in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears vaccinates us against original sin - against a repetition of the mistake of Adam and Eve. The prodigal son will never go back to the pig sty (Luke 15:11-32). Neither will we. When the gift of paradise is given to us, we will keep it. We will not fumble the ball. Because we have personal experience with the toxic truth of Valley of Tears, it is highly unlikely that we will ever return to the shit hole.

God did not wait. Rescue began immediately. The sour truth was the tool of rescue that God used before the advent of Jesus. The sour truth is the instrument of rescue for the 80+% of the world that is non-Christian. God takes no chances He wants all to be saved. Using the sour truth to ensure we keep the gift of paradise when it is delivered to us is fool-proof. It reduces the likelihood that we will let the gift of paradise slip through our fingers to near zero.

 

Jumping from Our Crosses to His Cross
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Jump

To avoid being overwhelmed by the incessant taunts of the serpent, jump from your crosses to his cross. Jump onto the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Bask in the knowledge that God loves us dearly. Run away from the serpent’s lies and into the truth of paradise.

 

Where do We Put our Minds as We Escape through the Valley of Tears?

Where do we put our minds as we make our escape through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death and into the Kingdom of God? On what do we meditate day and night (Psalm 1:2)? Put your minds on what happened on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Meditate day and night on the revelation that Jesus released there.

 

Sanctuary

There are many places at which we can put our minds as we pas through the Valley of Tears but only one sanctuary. Take sanctuary in the the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Make pilgrimage with Jesus as he proceeds on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Find your peace there. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the beatific vision.

Settler, Pilgrim, Sinner and Saint
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Only Pilgrims Become Saints

The two stages of the process of becoming a saint

In the first stage of the process of becoming a saint, settlers are transformed into pilgrims; in the second stage, sinners are transformed into saints 

We cannot skip the first stage. We cannot bypass it. There is no shortcut around it. To transform sinners into saints, we must first transform settlers into pilgrims. There is no other way. There is no substitute for participating in the process of seeking God.

Settlers are roosting in the Valley of Tears. They have sunk their roots deep into its toxic soil (Matthew 6: 24). Pilgrims, on the other hand, are passing through the Valley of Tears. They have picked up their roots and are migrating as refugees from godlessness to God (Matthew 6:19-21). They are making their escape in a new Exodus from holy place to holy place that define the escape route through the Valley of Tears from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh, across the Red Sea of death, to freedom with God and his Holy Family in the promised land, the land of milk and honey. 

HOW DO WE TURN A SETTLER INTO A PILGRIM? 

To turn a settler into a pilgrim, we must stimulate a settler's curiosity in God. Love is the stimulus. Our knowledge of his love for us begets our curiosity in God (Psalm 8:4-8). Moreover, love begets love. 

The Son of God is a philanthropist not a sadist. He is our friend not our foe. He paid us a visit to make our journey through the Valley of Tears easier not harder (Matthew 11:29-30)A FLAT HEART, LIKE A FLAT TIRE, MAKES THE RIDE THROUGH THE VALLEY OF TEARS ROUGH. Therefore, the Son of God paid us a visit to inflate our deflated hearts with love. Love is the "grease" that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the Valley of Tears. The Son of God transported the "grease of love" from heaven to us here on earth. Furthermore, he demonstrated for us that it works by using it himself. He donned the jet pack and flew to show us that we, too, can fly. What a crazy daredevil this Jesus was. JESUS HUNG FROM HIS CROSS TO TEACH US HOW TO HANG FROM OUR CROSSES. When you hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung, love as Jesus loved. Hold tight and refuse to let go of love, sufferings invincible foe. 

The most Sacred Heart of Jesus overflows with love. His cup runneth over like the dewfall(Luke 22:20) (Psalm 23:5) (Epiclesis) (Eucharistic Prayer). From his heart our hearts receive a transfusion of love. The transfusion of love is invigorating. It vivifies us. It brings the dead to life. "We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4: 19). Love begets love. 

A saint is a child of Adam and Eve who bears a resemblance to God (Genesis 1:26). The greater the love that we hold in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" John 13:35

When sinners fall in love with God, we change our behavior to please our lover. 

The job of the Church is limited. The job of the Church is to transform settlers into pilgrims. The Church does its job by testifying as a witness testifies to the truth. All truth? No. Much is true. However, much that is true is irrelevant. The truth that matters is the subset of truth that shatters the illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness and the illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise. The sledgehammer of truth shatters the two illusions as the blow of a hammer shatters glass. The job of God is to transform sinners into saints. We don't transform ourselves from sinners into saints. The Church does not transform us. Only God transforms us from sinners into saints and this takes place at the holy places that define the escape route. The process of salvation goes off the rails when the Church arrogates to itself the job God reserved for himself and neglects the job God delegated to it. There is no substitute for frolicking with God at the holy places. There is no shortcut. When we fall in love with God, we change our behavior to please our lover. The only way to fall in love with God is by frolicking with him at the holy places that define the escape route.

 

The Excellence of God

Can you articulate the excellence of God? Do you have the words? How about the basis on which the excellence of God rests?

 

The Bait for the Hook

When you evangelize, with what do you bait your hook to fish for the children of Adam and Eve? What bait do the fish take hook, line and sinker? The Son of God impaled bloody and alive on the Cross like a worm on a hook is the bait. The bait was cast into the Valley of Tears to fish for the children of Adam and Eve.

 

What Happened on the Road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection?

What happened on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection? What took place there?

 

The Bombshell of Revelation that Jesus Dropped into the Valley of Tears

As Jesus made his escape through the Valley of Tears on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, he dropped a bombshell of revelation into the Valley of Tears. In a demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, Jesus gave us a high fidelity representation of the reality of God. Its fidelity is unmatched by any representation made by human hands. It was apocalyptic. It illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany (John 1:5) (Psalm 43:3).

 

The Tip of the Spear of Evangelization

What is the conversation that begins the process of evangelization?

  1. Have you ever made a pilgrimage to the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection?

  2. Have you ever witnessed with your own two eyes the demonstration of divinity that took place there?

  3. Do you understand the apocalyptic truth that erupted from the violent collision between Jesus and the evil we did to him?

  4. Are you privy to the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection?

A discussion of these questions is the point and place of beginning for evangelization. Failure follows when we start the process of evangelization at a different location.

 

With Regard to Representations of the Reality of God, Beware of Knockoffs

What picture of God do you hold in your head? More importantly, from where and from whom did you get it? If you did not get it directly from Jesus, the odds are that the picture of God that you hold in your head is inaccurate, that is, it is a low fidelity representation of the reality of God - a cheap, low quality imitation - a knockoff. A knockoff is of no value to you. Better no representation of the reality of God than a low fidelity representation of him. Many false, inaccurate and conflicting pictures of God circulate through the minds of the children of Adam and Eve. The multiplicity of pictures creates confusion. “This is God” some say as they point to their favorite picture of God. Others point to a different picture and say, “No, this is God.” The controversy goes on ad infinitum. Because of the confusion, the most Holy Trinity desired to set the record straight once and forever. They decided to clear the air. They decided to dispatch the Son of God to earth from heaven to put before us the "similitude" of God (Numbers 12:8) for us to behold. JESUS PAID US A VISIT TO REVEAL GOD TO US. 

 
I give you the end of a golden string;
Only wind it into a ball,
It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate,
Built in Jerusalem’s wall.…
— William Blake From ‘Jerusalem’
 

Publication, Release and Verification
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What Happened on the Road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection?

On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, Jesus published God’s love for us. He released into the Valley of Tears the knowledge that God loves us dearly. He verified the genuineness of the revelation on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection as well.

 

Mass

The road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is repeated whenever a priest says a Mass. At Mass, however, the repetition is bloodless. One bloody sacrifice was enough. Yes, Jesus was present on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection more than two thousand years ago. Yes, Jesus is present on road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection at Mass. Yet, his real presence on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is not as important as what happened there. What did he do there? What revelation did he publish, release and verify there? He gives us a hint by making his body and blood the centerpiece of the Mass. His body and blood point us to his wounds. Our God is a wounded God - the God with the bloody wounds. A violent collision took place between Jesus and the evil we did to him. The violent collision opened bloody wounds in his body. Buckets of blood spilled through his wounds, out of his body and onto the earth. On a cataract of blood, his life itself was carried out of his body. But not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us followed his blood through his wounds and out of his body. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. This is the demonstration of divinity that happened on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. There is more to the Mass than his real presence in the most Holy Eucharist - much more. You cannot stop at his real presence and be content. You must delve deeper. You must witness with your own eyes what happened on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Become a witness. Testify to the truth about God. Save the world.

 

The Trail is Already Blazed
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How do I get There from Here?

How do I get there from here? Is there a trail that I can follow? Jesus blazed a trail through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of death, the worst and the last of our crosses (1 Corinthians 15:26) and into the promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 13:27). I would be an idiot if I tried to blaze my own trail through the wilderness and not follow the trail that he blazed. I am not an idiot. What was the trail that he blazed? During his exodus (Luke 9:31) through the Valley of Tears, Jesus applied love to suffering. Applying love to suffering was the methodology that Jesus used as he passed through the Valley of Tears. JESUS HUNG FROM HIS CROSS TO TEACH US HOW TO HANG FROM OUR CROSSES. He clung to love for us, held tight and refused to let go even though we tortured and killed him. Therefore, when you hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung, love as Jesus loved. Hold tight and refuse to let go of love, our cross’s invincible foe. 

 

The Trailblazer

Our passage through the hostile army of crosses that besiege us as we pass through the Valley of Tears (Psalm 23:4), across the Red Sea of death, the worst and the last of our crosses (1 Corinthians 15:26) and into the promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 13:27) is difficult. The Valley of Tears (Hail Holy Queen) is as foul as Eden was fair - as hostile as Eden was hospitable. As we pass through the Valley of Tears, we eat the bread of adversity and drink the water of affliction (Isaiah 30:20-22). The rod is not spared on the children of Adam and Eve in the Valley of Tears. Spare the rod and spoil the children (Proverbs 13:24) (Hebrews 12:5-11). The Son of God did not pay us a visit to make our journey harder. He paid us a visit to make our journey easier. He did not pay us a visit to put us on the hook but to let us off the hook. He came to mitigate, not to aggravate, our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears. Jesus was a trailblazer (Trail Blazing) - a pathfinder (John 14:6). He blazed a trail. He invites the children of Adam and Eve to follow him back home to the promised land on the trail that he blazed. JESUS HUNG FROM HIS CROSS TO TEACH US HOW TO HANG FROM OUR CROSSES. He clung to love for us, held tight and refused to let go even though we tortured and killed him. He recommends that we do likewise. Therefore, when you hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung, love as Jesus loved. Hold tight and refuse to let go of love, sufferings invincible foe. Love kicks sufferings a@@. A flat heart, like a flat tire, makes the ride through the Valley of Tears rough. Therefore, the Son of God paid us a visit TO INFLATE OUR DEFLATED HEARTS WITH LOVE. He came to change the tire. The Son of God is A PHILANTHROPIST NOT A SADIST. He is OUR FRIEND NOT OUR FOE. He paid us a visit to make our journey EASIER NOT HARDER (Matthew 11:29-30).

 

The Escape of the New Exodus
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The New Exodus

To rescue us from the Valley of Tears, God built an escape route, defined it with holy places, made a map of them, established a Church and entrusted the map to the Church. The Church has the map and knows the way.

The new Exodus is marching through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of death and into the promised land hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm together as one family in a common enterprise to the rhythmic beat of the loving heart of our living God!

Settlers are roosting in the Valley of Tears. Like trees, they have sunk their roots deep into its toxic soil (Matthew 6: 24). They have planted themselves. Pilgrims, on the other hand, are passing through the Valley of Tears. They are mobile not stationary. They have picked up their roots and are migrating as refugees from godlessness to God (Matthew 6:19-21). They are making their escape in a new Exodus from holy place to holy place that define the escape route through the Valley of Tears from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh, across the Red Sea of death, to freedom with God and his Holy Family in the promised land, the land of milk and honey.

With whom do you keep in touch? Do you keep in touch with your family? with friends? How about God? Do you keep in touch with God? At the holy places that define the escape route of the new Exodus, contact with divinity is made.

At that holy places that define the escape route of the new Exodus, a close encounter with the living God takes place. During a close encounter with the living God, a connection is made between earth and heaven. Through the connection, the light of paradise illuminates the darkness of godlessness. No one walks away from a close encounter with the living God unchanged. No one walks away from a close encounter with the living God empty handed

Only by moving from holy place to holy place that define the escape route can we be sure that we are heading in the right direction.

The movement of the new exodus is the needle of the compass that always points in the direction of God.

The job of the Church is to facilitate the escape not to frustrate it, filter it or foul it up (Isaiah 57:14).

The escape of the new Exodus from godlessness to paradise is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect (Matthew 23:13).

“Nobody left behind" is the motto of the escape. "Neither saint nor sinner” (Luke 15).

The Son of God did not pay us a visit to make our journey through the Valley of Tears harder. He paid us a visit to make our journey easier. He did not pay us a visit to put us on the hook but to let us off the hook. He came to mitigate, not to aggravate, our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears.

 

The Obstacle Course

Life is an obstacle course. Pray that Jesus will help you to pass through the obstacles on your way to him. Oh, Mary, the Untier of Knots, (Wikipedia), help us reach the safety of your son, Jesus (Isaiah 40:4-6).

 

The Truth is the Engine that Drives the New Exodus
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The Sour Truth

The sour truth is the medicine, harsh (Proverbs 13:24) (Hebrews 12:5-11) but effective. For the children of Adam and Eve, the sour truth fills the delay that God inserted between his gift of life and his gift of paradise. The vessel that holds the sour truth is the Valley of Tears (Hail Holy Queen). The gift of life marks the beginning of our escape through the Valley of Tears. The gift of paradise marks the end. As we make our escape through the sour truth held by the Valley of Tears, we are baptized (Matthew 20:22). We eat the bread of adversity and drink the water of affliction (Isaiah 30:20-22). Our baptism in the sour truth is the price of admission into paradise, the land flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 13:27).

 

The Sweet Truth

The sweet truth is the sugar that helps the medicine go down (Mary Poppins). The sweet truth is God's challenge to the serpent's anti-god propaganda. It is the argument that God makes to us in the courtroom of our rationality to dispute the the serpent's anti-god propaganda. The sweet truth helps us to reach the right verdict about God. The sweet truth emerged incandescent from the violent collision that took place between Jesus and the evil we did to him to illuminate the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. The sweetness of paradise dilutes the sourness of godlessness in the same way that sugar cubes dilute the bitterness of a cup of coffee (Matthew 13:30). The sweet truth mitigates the sourness of godlessness. It blunts the sharp edges of the crosses that besiege us as we pass through the Valley of Tears.

 

The Testimony of a Witness to the Truth

I am not God. I am not a deputy of God. I do not stand in persona Christi. What I am is a witness to the sweet truth and to the sour. Hearken to my testimony.

 

The Valley of Tears
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The Teeth and Tongues of our Crosses
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The Teeth and Tongues of our Crosses

Our Crosses have teeth and tongues. Their sharp teeth chew us up into bits and pieces. Their tongues are as sharp as their teeth. Their tongues spew virulent anti-God propaganda.

 

The Medicine
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The Medicine is Harsh

The Medicine that God prescribes to cure us is harsh. The medicine is this: God lets us stew in the hostile truth of the Valley of Tears for a lifetime like pickles in a barrel of brine. He baptizes us in the Valley of Tears.

 

The Side Effect of the Medicine
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The Medicine is not without a Deleterious Side Effect


Our baptism in the sour truth of the Valley of Tears is effective medicine. The medicine, however, is not without a deleterious side effect. It broadcasts powerful anti-god propaganda into every nook and cranny of the Valley of Tears.

 

The Sharp Tongues of our Crosses Broadcast Virulent Anti-God Propaganda

They sharp tongues of our crosses taunt us, saying "Despair! Abandon hope! You are alone and forsaken. Nobody is coming to rescue you. Where is your Savior now (Matthew 27:42)?” While we are nailed alive to our crosses as a live worm is impaled on a sharp hook and no Savior is in sight, it is a struggle to believe that God exists and that he loves us. "Isn't it foolish to place our trust in a Savior who doesn't save - a Redeemer who doesn't redeem - a false God who does not rescue us." Isn't it unwise for a traveler to fly in an aircraft that tends to crash - for a warrior to trust in a weapon that does not work in the exigencies of war? Isn't it unwise for a child of Adam and Eve to rely on an unreliable God?

 

The Virulent Anti-God Propaganda Hides the Sweetness of Paradise

The virulent anti-God propaganda broadcast by the sharp tongues of our crosses hides from us the sweetness of paradise. It buries the sweetness of paradise completely. It is almost impossible to see the sweetness of paradise while we are nailed alive to our crosses as a live worm is impaled on a sharp hook. Our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears causes us to lose hope.

 

How did God neutralize the serpent's virulent anti-God propaganda?

The anti-God propaganda broadcast by the sharp tongues of our crosses is effective. It works. It hides the sweetness of paradise from us. How did God neutralize the serpent's virulent anti-God propaganda? How did God make the sweetness of paradise visible to us?

 

The Contradiction

The testimony from the tongues of our crosses is that we are forsaken (Psalm 22: 1) (Mark 15:34). The logic that the testimony of our crosses presents to us is that God does not love us because he does not rescue us from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears. The serpent’s logic is highly persuasive. To neutralize the power of the serpent’s logic, Jesus commandeered a cross - the instrument of our woe - and repurposed it to offer us a contradiction. The testimony that Jesus offered us on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection tells us that God is head over heals in love with us. How did we reconcile the testimony that Jesus gives us from his Cross with the testimony that the serpent gives us from our crosses? Last time, we preferred the testimony of the serpent over the testimony of God. Our preference caused us to exit paradise and enter the Valley of Tears. This time, whose testimony will we prefer? What is our verdict?

 

God Neutralized the Serpent’s Anti-God Propaganda

To neutralize the serpent’s anti-god propaganda, Jesus commandeered a cross - the agent of our woe - reconfigured it and and from it demonstrated that God loves us dearly. God’s power built paradise for us. God’s love for us, however, is the ingredient that makes paradise sweet.

 

Has the Jury Reached a Verdict?

How do we decide? On what basis does the jury render its verdict? In the Valley of Tears, the serpent broadcasts virulent anti-God propaganda from the tongues of our crosses. We are taunted with the fact that God does not rescue us immediately. While our rescue is delayed, the sharp teeth of our crosses chew us up into bits and pieces. Rescue delayed is powerful evidence that persuades us that God does not exist or does not love us. The Son of God joined the controversy to provide us with conflicting evidence. He commandeered a cross, the source of our woe, recalibrated its message and powerfully broadcasted through his bloody wounds from the platform of the Cross irrefutable evidence of God's love for us. Now, by virtue of his Cross, the evidence conflicts. It contradicts. We must decide which conclusion to draw from the conflicting evidence. The dilemma of the children of Adam and Eve is no different than the dilemma of Adam and Eve. We must pick the testimony of God or the testimony of the serpent. To pick the right evidence and render the right verdict, it behooves us to figure out where do God and the serpent stand in terms of credibility. Shall we credit the testimony of the serpent who testified, in a prior controversy, that we become gods without God in the Valley of Tears (Genesis 3:5)? Or shall we credit the testimony of God who testified, in a prior controversy, that without God in the Valley of Tears we perish (Genesis 3:3)? Shall we not pick the evidence on which to base our verdict according to the credibility of the witness who supplies it?

 

God Appeals to our Faculty of Rationality

God does not appeal to our faculty of obedience. Our faculty of obedience is broken and has been broken since the age of Adam and Eve. God appeals to our faculty of rationality. He supports his appeal with evidence. It is up to us to reach a verdict. Hopefully, it is a verdict based on the evidence. Reaching a verdict is an evidence based endeavor.

 

The Delay
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Raising Our Level of Confidence in God
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Raising our Level of Confidence in God

How do we raise their level of confidence in our love for them through the roof? How do we make them certain that our love for them is real?

 

Taking a Magic Carpet Ride Through the Valley of Tears, Across the Red Sea of Death and into Paradise


Climb aboard the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection to take a magic carpet ride above the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death and into the Kingdom of God. There, experience for yourself transcendence. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, Jesus published the revelation that he is the love note that God sent to us. The purpose of publication was to raise the level of our confidence in his love for us through the roof. He wanted us to be certain that His love for us is real. "What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God."  (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756). The road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the source of our certainty - the source of our faith - the basis for our high degree of confidence that his love for us is real. The message that God broadcasts into the Valley of Tears from the Cross thar Jesus commandeered on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection contradicts the anti-God propaganda that the serpent broadcasts from the crosses that chew us up into bits and pieces as we pass through the Valley of Tears. Jesus commandeered a Cross - the agent of our woe - and reconfigured its message to neutralize the serpent’s anti-God propaganda. Mount the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection and ride it in style to your destination (Steppenwolf - Magic Carpet Ride 1968)(On Eagle's Wings) .

 

The Cape Canaveral of Christianity

The Cape Canaveral of Christianity is the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through his bloody wounds, and ended at the Resurrection. It is the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. From here, the rocket of our confidence in his love for us is launched and soars through the roof. Countdown! Three - two - one - liftoff! When we explore the demonstration of divinity on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection., the degree of our certainty that his love for us is real climbs off the charts. What are the implications? Are there consequences to having a high degree of confidence in God's love for us? "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." (Matthew 17:20).

 

The Location of the Answer to the Question, "Who is God?"
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Where do We Find the Answer to the Question, “Who is God?”?

Who is God? One God; one answer. What is the answer? More importantly, where do we find it? Does anyone have a map with which we can locate the answer? Does anyone have a shovel with which we can dig it up? How difficult is it to locate and discover the answer to the question, 'Who is God?'?

 

The Crucifixion and the Resurrection are not isolated, autonomous, independent events
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The Crucifixion and the Resurrection are not isolated, autonomous, independent events

The Crucifixion and the Resurrection are not isolated, autonomous, independent events. The Crucifixion and the Resurrection are bound together - parts of a whole - two sides of one coin - two wings of the same bird. They work in concert with each other. They cooperate together to produce the answer to the question, 'Who is God?'. Follow the bouncing ball (Wikipedia) - the narrative of salvation - as it moves from its start at and about the Crucifixion, proceeds through his bloody wounds, and ends at the Resurrection. Figure out the connection between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection to understand God. There is a connection. It exists. This is the only insight - realization - epiphany - that you need in order to approach perfection in your understanding of God.

 

To Catch a Glimpse of the Beatific Vision, Read the Complete Sentence

The Crucifixion alone is an incomplete sentence. The Resurrection alone is an incomplete sentence. The complete sentence is found in the demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The Word of God (John 1:1) wasn't an author. He was a carpenter (Mark 6:3). Yet, the carpenter preached the good news of great joy to us in a complete sentence. The carpenter built the beatific vision - at least as close to it as possible this side of death - into the demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. To catch a glimpse of the Beatific Vision, read the complete sentence. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, Jesus dropped a bombshell of revelation into the Valley of Tears. Its explosion illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany (John 1:5) (Psalm 43:3). Let yourself be ordained by the incandescent truth. Join Jesus on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Make pilgrimage with him. Witness the truth that erupted from the violent collision between Jesus and the evil we did to him with your own eyes. Testify to it. Save the world.

 

THREE GALLONS OF MEANING

DOES YOUR TANK HAVE THE CAPACITY TO HOLD THREE GALLONS OF MEANING? To store the revelation that God loves us dearly, Jesus deposited three gallons of meaning into the demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 1:17). From this repository, the revelation would be distributed to the children of Adam and Eve across time and space.

One gallon of meaning was deposited into the Crucifixion on the near side of the Cross of Christ. 

One gallon of meaning was deposited into the Resurrection on the far side of the Cross of Christ. 

One gallon of meaning was deposited into the connection between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The connection between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection is the least understood but most important gallon of meaning of the three gallons of meaning. The connection between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection adds a layer of meaning above and beyond the meaning that each of the two events holds in and of itself.

The Crucifixion and the Resurrection are not separate, independent, unrelated events. The connection that joins the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together into two parts of a single unit is the symbiotic dance of question and answer. The symbiotic dance of question and answer weaves its way through his bloody wounds to tie the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together into an apocalyptic conversation - an interrogation to be precise. In the Crucifixion, we shout our sharp question to him with lash, thorns, nails and spear. In the Resurrection, He whispers his gentle answer back to us (1 Kings 19:11-13).. He did not respond to us in kind. Thankfully, he changed the tone of the conversation. The radical asymmetry between us and our God is highlighted by the radical asymmetry of our question and his answer (Isaiah 55:8-9). Are you privy to the conversation? The Crucifixion and the Resurrection cooperate together to produce the answer to the question, 'Who is God?'.

Many who contemplate the Cross of Christ, unfortunately, have only a one gallon tank. A one gallon tank cannot handle three gallons of meaning. WHAT IS THE CAPACITY OF YOUR TANK (1 Corinthians 1:17)?

 

Can You Articulate the Connection between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection?


Jesus triumphed over the serpent by tying the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together into a knot. In order to understand God, we must understand the exact nature of the connection between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Probably, you can describe the Crucifixion. Probably, you can describe the Resurrection. But, can you describe the exact nature of the connection between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection? Do you have the words?

 

Who is God?
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Who is God?

Who is God? Your answer to the question is worthless speculation unless it is derived from a solid foundation. An answer to a question derives its strength from its foundation. A weak foundation begets a weak answer; a strong foundation begets a strong answer. Therefore, tell us, on what foundation does your understanding of God rest? [Note: The fundamental unit of thinking is the troika of question, answer and foundation. They are the sub-atomic particles that form the nucleus of a conception.]

 

A Foundation that Can Support the Answer to the Question, ‘Who is God?’

Rest the answer to the question, ‘Who is God?’, on the demonstration of divinity that took place on road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. It is an extremely sturdy foundation. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, Jesus dropped a bombshell of revelation into the Valley of Tears. Its explosion illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany (John 1:5) (Psalm 43:3). Erupting from the violent collision between Jesus and the evil we did to him was a high fidelity representation of the reality of God. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, we catch a glimpse of the beatific vision - at least as close to it as possible this side of death.

 

The Road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection
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Exploration

We have explored the continents. We have explored beneath the seas. We have explored outer space. We have explored the genetic constituents of our very being. Yet, mankind’s greatest adventure and grandest enterprise is our exploration of the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. As we explore this trail, God reveals his nature to us. We acquire the certain knowledge that God loves us. The knowledge that God loves us transforms us. No exploration; no transformation.

 

Pinpointing the Location Where the Treasure of Christianity is Buried

My one and only insight is that I know the location where the answer to the question,'Who is God?', can be found. I am privy to the secret. I know where the treasure of Christianity is buried (Matthew 13:44). What is its location? The treasure of Christianity is buried in the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through his bloody wounds, and ended at the Resurrection. It is discovered on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.

 

To What Do You Anchor Your Understanding of God?

To what do you anchor your understanding of God? Anchor your understanding of God to the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.

 

The Showcase

The road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the showcase in which God is on display. Jesus deposited a high fidelity representation of the reality of God into the showcase. If you want to witness divinity, take a pilgrimage with Jesus from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the substrate of reality on which the true story of God unfolded.

 

The Structure of Reality

Reality is thick not thin. It has depth. It does not consist of a single layer. Multiple layers give reality its thickness. They form a stack. Furthermore, different stories unfold on the different layers of reality. Each layer of reality is a substrate for a story. The story that is unfolding on the skin of reality is different than the stories unfolding on the subcutaneous layers beneath. Yet, the layers of reality intersect as well as overlap. The nearsighted can only see the story unfolding on the skin of reality. The farsighted can see the different stories unfolding on the different layers of reality

 

The Grass that Grows

The grass that grows on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is a proper understanding of God.

 

The Good News of Great Joy

The Good News of Great Joy was revealed to us in a demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.

 

The Treasure, the Treasure Chest, and the Treasure Map
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On the Treasure Map of Christianity, a “†“ Marks the Spot of the Treasure

To pinpoint for us the precise location of the treasure of Christianity - of the answer to the question, 'Who is God?' - God erected a landmark. God planted the Cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:17) in the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection to serve as the flag that rallies Christians to the Son of God. Rally 'round the Cross!

 

The Epicenter of Christianity

The revelation that God is head over heals in love is the epicenter of Christianity.

Why is the revelation the epicenter of Christianity?

To understand the epicenter of Christianity, three separate and distinct concepts must be understood:

  1. Revelation that God is head over heels in love with us (treasure of Christianity)

  2. Demonstration of divinity (treasure chest)

  3. Road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection (field in which treasure is buried)

R.D.R. is the acronym by which you can remember the three concepts.

The road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the field where Jesus buried the treasure of Christianity (Matthew 13:44). The treasure of Christianity is the revelation that God is head over heels in love with us. Jesus deposited the revelation into a treasure chest before he buried it in the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The treasure chest is a demonstration of divinity. He deposited it there and there it is stored. It is akin to a “bank”. Jesus invites us to make a withdrawal from his account in the “bank” into which he deposited the treasure of Christianity. He is overjoyed to share his wealth with us. He wants to make us rich (Isaiah 55: 1-2). Make the withdrawal. Share your newfound wealth with your neighbors. Testify as a witness to the truth about God. Save the world.

 

The Conversation between the Crucifixion to the Resurrection
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The Beautiful, Symbiotic Dance of Question and Answer

The beautiful, symbiotic dance of question and answer weaved its way through his bloody wounds to connect the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together into a conversation.

 

God’s Greatest Revelation

God himself poured many words, deeds and events into the history of humanity to enhance our understanding of God - to make himself known to us - to give us a high fidelity representation of the reality of God - to expose us to the sweetness of paradise. But, what is the greatest of God's contributions? One stands head and shoulders above the rest. What is it? God's greatest contribution to our understanding of God is the conversation that took place between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. ARE YOU PRIVY TO THE CONVERSATION? 

The Crucifixion was the sharp question that we shouted at Jesus with lash, thorns, nails and spear. "Who are you, Jesus?" "Identify yourself!" "Friend or foe?". We interrogated him. We gave him the third degree.

The Resurrection was the gentle answer he whispered back to us. The insanity of Christianity is Jesus's radically asymmetric answer to the evil we did to him. We lit the fuse to the bomb of revenge, retaliation and retribution. But it did not detonate. It was a dud. Thankfully, there was no backlash. He did not answer the evil we did to him in kind (Isaiah 55:8-9). He changed the tone of the conversation (1 Kings 19:11-13). His gentle answer to our sharp question was I am your friend not your foe. I am your almighty lover" (Jeremiah 31:3) (Jeremiah 29:11-14).

Jesus is the expression of God's love to us. He is the Love Note - the Love Note from God to us.

 

The conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection is the foundation on which the edifice of Christianity is built (Psalm 118:22). The edifice of Christianity collapses only when Christians try to build it on a different foundation. As long as it stands on the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:17-18).

"Who are you, Jesus?" "Identify yourself!" "Friend or foe?" "I am your friend not your foe. I am your almighty lover" (Jeremiah 31:3) (Jeremiah 29:11-14).

The beautiful, symbiotic dance of question and answer weaved its way through his bloody wounds to connect the Crucifixion and the Resurrection into a conversation.

The connection between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection is a conversation - an interrogation to be precise.

Are you privy to the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection? The Crucifixion was the sharp question we shouted at Jesus. The Resurrection was the gentle answer he whispered back to us. He did not answer us in kind. He changed the tone of the conversation. What did we ask him? What was his answer?

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF GOD TELLS THE STORY OF OUR INTERROGATION OF GOD. We gave him the third degree and he confessed - he spilled the beans. He let the cat out of the bag. 

Punctuation marks stand between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The Crucifixion is the sharp question we shouted at Jesus. The Resurrection is the gentle answer he whispered back to us. His bloody wounds are the question marks that stand between our question and his answer (Isaiah 53:5) (1 Peter 2:24). Why are his bloody wounds question marks? At the time our evil opened bloody wounds in his body, we did not know the answer Jesus would give us in response to our question. The answer he would give us to the evil we did to him was - at the time - a mystery. The reasonable expectation was that the evil we did to him would trigger his reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution. "An eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" (Exodus 21:24.) 

The first chapter of the Autobiography of God was written at and about the Crucifixion. The final chapter of the Autobiography of God was written at the Resurrection. The Autobiography of God is an apocalyptic conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection - a conversation without words. In the conversation, we are introduced to God - we make God's acquaintance. It is up to us to translate the conversation into words.

It is ironic but the Word of God (John 1:1) wasn't an author. He was a carpenter (Mark 6:3). The carpenter built the answer to the question, 'Who is God?', into the framework of the Cross. [Rally 'round the Cross.]

God's greatest contribution to our understanding of God is the conversation that took place between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Are you privy to the conversation? The Crucifixion was the harsh question that we shouted at Jesus with lash, thorns, nails and spear. "Who are you, Jesus?" "Identify yourself!" "Friend or foe?". We interrogated him. We gave him the third degree. The Resurrection was the gentle answer he whispered back to us. He did not answer the evil that we did to him in kind (Isaiah 55:8-9). He changed the tone of the conversation (1 Kings 19:11-13). "I am your friend not your foe. I am your almighty lover" (Jeremiah 31:3) (Jeremiah 29:11-14). Jesus was the expression of God's love to us. He was the Love Note.

 

A Fell Darkness has Descended Enshrouding God

Here are questions whose answers have been lost like the fabled city of Atlantis:

  1. What is the most important location in Christianity?

  2. Why is it the most important location in Christianity?

The most important location in Christianity is the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. It is the most important location in Christianity because the most apocalyptic revelation about God took place there.

Can you articulate the revelation? Do you have the words?

 

Can You Tell the Story of Christianity as Jesus Told It?

Do you know the story of Christianity? I am not asking whether or not you believe it. I am asking you just whether or not you know it. After you learn the story, you can decide for yourself whether it is fact or fiction. Most people who style themselves as a Christian do not know the story of Christianity. They can not tell it as Jesus told it. The story of Christianity introduces us to our God. In the story of Christianity, we make our God’s acquaintance. The story of Christianity unfolded on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. It is ironic but the Word of God (John 1:1) wasn't an author. He was a carpenter (Mark 6:3). The carpenter built the story of Christianity into the demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, a violent collision took place between Jesus and the evil we did to him. Incandescent truths erupted from the violent collision that illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. Are you familiar with the truth that emerged on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection? We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive revealed to us the power of Jesus. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than power. It revealed that ur conception of divinity as power is incomplete - flawed. Divinity is also love. God is still head over heels in love with us despite the evil we did to him. 

 

Save the World
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Testify as a Witness to the Truth

Walk with Jesus on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.

Watch with your own two eyes the demonstration of divinity that took place there.

Testify as a witness to the truth that erupted from the violent collision between Jesus and the evil we did to him, and

Save the world.

 

Evil begets evil. In contrast to Christianity, the serpent tears down the firewalls so evil can freely circulate. The enterprise of Christianity is to build firewalls with building blocks of love to stop the spread of evil.

Christians are sponges who absorb evil. Evil neither passes through or passes back. In this way, evil dies. Few have the strength to become a fully fledged Christian. The greater the absorption of evil, the greater the saint. Jesus was the greatest of saints. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive revealed to us the power of Jesus. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than power. Our conception of divinity as power is incomplete - flawed. Divinity is also love. God is still head over heels in love with us despite the evil we did to him.

Love and love alone enables us to absorb evil. Love turns us into superman with the strength to deny ourselves, to pick up and carry our crosses (Matthew 16:24).

To save the universe, we must absorb evil. It does not pass through. It does not pass back.

We become a building block of love when we absorb evil. By absorbing evil, we kill it.

God invites us to stand shoulder to shoulder with him as comrades-in-arms in a shield wall that does not let evil either pass through or pass back. The shield wall is constructed out of building blocks of love that absorbs evil refusing to let it propagate itself. In this way, with God we save the universe. And, in the process of saving the universe, we save ourselves by becoming building blocks of love.

Is our job to make it easier for evil to reach its target or to make it more difficult?

The evil we did to Jesus did not jump the gap between him and us, contaminate him, and transmogrify him into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts.

The evil we did to Jesus did not extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in his most Sacred Heart or reduce its intensity by even the slightest degree.

The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. It is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even the evil we did to him could budge it.

His love for us survived the evil we did to him.

 

Settler, Pilgrim, Sinner and Saint
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The Church can make a pilgrim but only God can make a saint.

 

Saints

Saints are the children of Adam and Eve who have fallen in love with God. The harder the fall, the greater the saint.

A saint is not made by turning a human being into a robot and programming him to slavishly obey a byzantine codex of rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole. This is a failure not a success. Robotics is not the business of Christianity. A saint is made when a human being tries to fill his heart to the brim with love. The purpose of Christianity is not to transmogrify human beings into robots. The purpose of Christianity is to help human beings achieve their potential. Their potential is achieved when their hearts are filled to the brim with love.

 

The Fully-Fledged Christian

The fully-fledged Christian is a myth. Unlike coffee, there is no such thing as an instant Christian. It takes time to make a Christian. We do not become Christian overnight. A human being develops from a baby in the womb through other stages of life including infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age. A similar framework of development takes place in the thinking of a Christian. A Christian whose thinking is not quite up to speed with the thinking of the self-styled orthodox Christian is still a Christian for the same reason that a baby in the womb is still a human being.

 

The Violent Collision
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Truth Erupted from the Violent Collision

A violent collision took place between Jesus, our Savior, and the evil we did to himThe collision was bigger than the Big Bang (Big Bang) and larger than CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC). From the violent collision, truth erupted whose incandescence illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany (John 1:5) (Psalm 43:3). In the violent collision, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom and Jesus stepped through the rent in the veil to introduce God to us (Matthew 27:51). The incandescent truth is the shining jewel that nestles provocatively in the bosom of Christianity. The truth that erupted from the violent collision is the answer to the question, ‘Who is God?’.

 

The Test

We put our God to the test (Luke 4:12) (Deuteronomy 6:16). Are you privy to the results of the test?

 

The Freight Train of Evil

We launched a freight train of evil toward him. He saw it coming (Luke 22:42). Remarkably, he stood in its path. He did not flinch. He did not cower. He did not jump out of the way. He took evil on the chin (Isaiah 50:6). He stood firm and, by standing firm, stopped evil's progress dead in its tracks. He suffered and died but evil did not jump the gap between us and him. It did not transmogrify him into the most hideous and the most miserable of loveless beasts. "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). Although we tortured and killed him and he suffered and died, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive revealed to us the power of Jesus. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than power. Our conception of divinity as power is incomplete - flawed. Divinity is also love. God is still head over heels in love with us despite the evil we did to him. 

God's power built paradise for us. God's love for us, however, makes paradise sweet. Power begets respect; but, love begets love.

 

The Piñata

At Calvary, we hung a piñata from a tree, beat Him with sticks, broke open His fragile shell and exposed His most sacred heart for the world to see. Remarkably, it was still filled to the brim with love for us. Buckets of blood spilled through the wounds we opened in the body of the Son of God, but not a drop - not a drop - of His love for us. Our brutal cruelty toward Him revealed His tender and intransigent love for us.

 

Asymmetry
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What Exactly Happened on the Road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection?

What exactly happened on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection? We lit the fuse to the bomb of revenge, retaliation and retribution but the bomb did not explode. The reasonable expectation was that the evil we did to him would trigger it. "An eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" (Exodus 21:24). Yet, the bomb was a dud. It refused to detonate. He did not answer the evil that we did to him in kind (Isaiah 55:8-9). He changed the tone of the conversation (1 Kings 19:11-13).

 

The Dud

THE BOMB OF REVENGE, RETALIATION AND RETRIBUTION DID NOT EXPLODE

Explosions capture our attention. The sights, sounds and vibrations of an explosion cause us to take notice. Wow! we exclaim as our jaws drop. A non-explosion, however, passes us by unobserved (1 Kings 19:11-13). In Christianity, a non-explosion took place that was more powerful - more apocalyptic - than the explosion of an atomic bomb. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. The evil we did to him was the fuse and we lit it. The law of symmetry holds that evil propagates itself, like a wave, from evildoer to victim. "An eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot (Exodus 21:24.). The bomb of revenge, retaliation and retribution, however, did not go off. It was a dud. He did not answer the evil that we did to him in kind (Isaiah 55:8-9). He changed the tone of the conversation (1 Kings 19:11-13). His answer to the evil we did to him was asymmetric - radically asymmetric. Something interrupted the process of detonation. Something interfered. What? Jesus’s love for us interrupted the process of detonation. Love stopped the bomb from exploding. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Jesus became a firewall that stopped the propagation of evil from us to him. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. By doing so, he shattered the cycle of evil. He stopped evil dead in its tracks. He did not permit evil to demote him from the level of God with a heart filled to the brim with love to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even the evil we did to him could budge it.

Can you control the bomb of revenge, retaliation and retribution that is waiting to explode within you? Jesus did. What about you? Can you find your place in the great firewall of Christianity standing side by side with Jesus, cheek to jowls, shoulder to shoulder as a comrade-in-arms?

 

What do We Get when We Reverse Engineer His Radically Asymmetric Answer to the Evil We did to him?

When we reverse engineer his radically asymmetric answer to the evil we did to him, what do we get? He did not answer the evil we did to him in kind (Isaiah 55:8-9). He changed the tone of the conversation (1 Kings 19:11-13). When we reverse engineer his radically asymmetric answer to the evil we did to him, we wind up with love. His love for us shaped his answer. His answer was the byproduct of his love for us. By keeping his heart filled to the brim with love for us, he was able to say "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

 

Our God with the Bloody Wounds
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Before We Didn’t but Now We Know

Our God was a stranger to us. When we did not know our God, we did not know the answer he would give to the evil that we did to him. Now we know our God. He is no longer a stranger to us. We have his answer.

 

His Bloody Wounds are Question Marks

HIS BLOODY WOUNDS STAND BETWEEN THE CRUCIFIXION AND THE RESURRECTION. THEY STAND LIKE QUESTION MARKS. THEY MARK A MYSTERY. 'What would be Jesus's answer to the evil that we did to him?' At the time we punctuated his body with question marks, we did not know what his answer would be because we did not know our God. Our God was a stranger to us. We assumed our God was like us. The reasonable expectation was that the evil that we did to him would trigger his reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution. "An eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" Exodus 21:24. Thankfully, he did not respond to our evil in kind (Isaiah 55:8-9). He changed the tone of the conversation (1 Kings 19:11-13). His answer to the evil that we did to him was asymmetrical - radically asymmetrical Isaiah 55:8-9Psalm 8:4-8 (KJV) [What is man?]. Why? Why was his answer to the evil that we did to him asymmetrical - radically asymmetrical? Love. Our God is head over heels in love with us. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. The survival of his love for us took the symmetry out of the never ending and ever escalating cycle of evil. LOVE WAS THE DOOR THROUGH WHICH HE EXITED THE MADNESS OF EVIL. Love set him free. Love can set you free as well.

 
 

Firewall
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Stopping Evil from Jumping the Gap Between Evildoer and Victim

Evil begets evil. Is there a firewall that can stop the propagation of evil from evildoer to victim?

 

Love is a Firewall Against the Propagation of Evil

As we pass through life, we occupy discrete levels of being. The top level is the level of God. At the level of God our hearts are filled to the brim with love. The bottom level is the level of the beast. The most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts occupy the bottom level. At the bottom level, our hearts are empty of love. Evil does its dirty work by poking holes in our hearts to drain them of love. Jesus defeated evil not by stopping it from poking holes in his heart. Jesus defeated evil by simply refusing to let his love for us spill through the holes. Buckets of blood passed through the holes but not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us. His most Sacred Heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. The evil we did to him did not dislodge him from the level of God and cast him down to the level of the beast (Revelation 12:7-9). The evil we did to him did not jump the gap between us and him. He erected a firewall. The firewall that Jesus erected was this: He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. [n.b.. Cling as Jesus clung. A word to the wise is sufficient!] He refused to allow our evil to transmogrify him into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beast. He refused a demotion.

 

Love Broke Symmetry’s Back

Evil begets evil. In accordance with the law of symmetry, evil propagates itself, like a wave, from evildoer to victim. It jumps the gap between them. How do we stop evil from jumping the gap? How do we repeal the law of symmetry? How do we build a firewall? How do we stop the propagation of evil dead in its tracks? Christianity, among other things, builds firewalls between evildoers and victims to prevent evil from jumping the gap between them. Firewalls contain the contagion. They stop the spread of the disease. Jesus showed us how to build a firewall. The evil we did to him at and about the Crucifixion ought to have jumped the gap between him and us. It ought to have infected him. The reasonable expectation was that the evil we did to him would trigger his reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution. "An eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" (Exodus 21:24). But it did not. He erected a firewall. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. By keeping his heart filled to the brim with love for us, he was able to say "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). He recommends that we do likewise. When we cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go, we build a firewall. When we build a firewall, the contagion of evil cannot transmogrify us into the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts. The firewall stops the wildfire of evil from spreading and burning down all in its path.

 

Evil and the Firewall that Stops it

The science of evil discovered that, within its domain, evil obeys the law of symmetry. Evil begets evil. In accordance with the law of symmetry, evil propagates itself, like a wave, from evildoer to victim. It jumps the gap between them. Evil pokes a hole in our hearts and drains them of love. Evil has the power to transmogrify us into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts.

Evil interrogates us. [Note: suffering is a subset of evil.] It demands that we identify ourselves. It insists that we show our credentials. In triggering a reaction from us, evil challenges us to reveal our nature to the world. 'What kind of person are you?' evil asks us. 'Show yourself' evil commands. 'Are you like me?' 'Are you my twin?' 'Are you a chip off the block of evil?' Our instinct instructs us to respond to evil in kind. An evil question begets an evil answer. "An eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot (Exodus 21:24.) The law of symmetry propagates the wave of evil like the wind propagates a wildfire.

Evil begets evil. In accordance with the law of symmetry, evil propagates itself, like a wave, from evildoer to victim. It jumps the gap between them. How do we stop evil from jumping the gap? How do we repeal the law of symmetry? How do we build a firewall? How do we stop the propagation of evil dead in its tracks?

Jesus built a firewall to stop the propagation of evil dead in its tracks. He built the firewall with building blocks of love.

A firewall built with building blocks of love stops the propagation of evil. It is the only thing that contains the contagion - stops the spread of the disease.

 

The Ransom Paid to Redeem Us

 

He Paid a King’s Ransom for Us. Why?

The RANSOM (1 Timothy 2:6) (1 Corinthians 7:23-24) (Matthew 10:29-31) that the serpent demanded to free us from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh was the life of the Son of God. The size of the RANSOM was exorbitant. Payment would be contrary to the Son of God's self-interest. It is unreasonable to expect the Son of God to act contrary to his self-interest. Yet, he did. He paid the RANSOM. Why? Love. The only reason is love. His love for us caused him to pay the RANSOM. He picked up our tab because he loved us more than he loved himself (John 15:13).

 

When Jesus Paid the Ransom, Slaves Became Refugees

The Son of God laid down his life (John 15:13) to purchase our freedom from the yoke of Pharaoh. The payment of the ransom opened the gates of the concentration camp and removed the guards from the watch towers. Payment lifted from our shoulders the yoke of Pharaoh. We were free but still displaced from our home. Therefore, slaves became refugees. After our release from captivity, we became strangers in a hostile land. We still need to pass through the hostile desert - the Valley of Tears - to reach the promised land, the land of milk and honey. We were not out of the woods, yet.

 

The Size of the Cost for the Production of the Demonstration of Divinity is a Measure of the Size of His Love for Us

Jesus financed the entire cost for the production of the demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection out of his own pocket. He did not pass the hat to others. Furthermore, He made the payment not from his unlimited divine resources but from his limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else (John 15:13).

 

Prayer

 

What is the Greatest Prayer?

The greatest prayer is love. Are you praying?

 

The Love Affair, the Love Note and the Love Story

 

The Serpent’s Logic is not God’s Logic

At Calvary, the serpent induced us to torture and kill the Son of God while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth. Surely, the serpent reasoned, this insult to the person of the Son of God would extinguish God's love for them. Again, God did not cooperate. The evil that we did to Jesus did not extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in his most sacred heart of reduce its intensity by even the slightest degree.

 

The Catastrophe

 

The Story of Adam and Eve

The story of Adam and Eve is viewed by many as a child’s fairy tale with little or no relevance to us today. Its lesson is judged too simple and, hence, too well-understood, to deserve any further serious contemplation. It is taken for granted. Few sermons are preached about it. Yet, the story of Adam and Eve is the sine qua non to an understanding of our need for rescue from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears.

 

The Ecosystem of Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve only knew the sweet truth of paradise. Before they opted out of Eden, Adam and Eve were strangers to the hostile truth of the Valley of Tears. They had absolutely no personal experience with its toxicity. Their knowledge of the Valley of Tears came from hearsay, conflicting testimony about it, God's (Genesis 3:3) and the serpent's (Genesis 3:5).

Adam and Eve were born and raised in the truth. The existence of falsehood was a hypothetical theory that never even crossed their minds. God made them innocent - without guile (John 1:47). God did not equip them with a defense mechanism against duplicity. To do so would have spoiled their innocence. Nor had such a defense mechanism against duplicity evolved in them. There was no need for skepticism. Before the advent of the serpent, nobody had ever lied to them (John 8:44).

In retrospect, it is easy for us back seat drivers and arm chair quarterbacks to say that they ought to have taken God at his word - but only in retrospect. At the time, however, how to resolve the conflict in the testimony was not clear. Trying to learn the truth for themselves was not an unreasonable course of conduct especially given that this was the first time that they were called upon to resolve testimonial conflict. How else would the jury reach a verdict?

 

The Exploitation of Innocence

So the serpent exploited the defenselessness of Adam and Eve. He took advantage of their innocence. He poured sugarcoating over the hostile truth of the Valley of Tears. The serpent testified to Adam and Eve that they would become gods without God in the Valley of Tears (Genesis 3:5). They would discover deification in the Valley of Tears. The sugarcoating that the serpent poured over the hostile truth of the Valley of Tears distorted our perception of reality. Rationality steers the ship. The truth is the fuel of our rationality. When fueled by the the truth, our rationality steers us in the right direction. When the fuel of truth is fouled by illusion, our rationality leads us astray (John 8:44).

 

The Testimony Conflicted so Adam and Eve Conducted Their Own Investigation

There was was a conflict in the testimony. The serpent testified that they would become gods without God in the Valley of Tears (Genesis 3:5). God testified that without God in the Valley of Tears, they would perish (Genesis 3:3). Deification (Genesis 3:5) or death (Genesis 3:3). Adam and Eve were flummoxed. Adam and Eve were ill-equipped to resolve the conflict in the testimony. So they decided to figure out the truth for themselves. They decided to conduct their own investigation. They decided to investigate the truth of the conflicting testimony for themselves by undertaking a fact finding mission into the Valley of Tears.  

 

Learning about the Hostile Truth the Hard Way versus Learning it the Easy Way

Some truth is hostile. The sharp teeth of the hostile truth chew us up into bits and pieces. God recommends obedience because learning the hostile truth from him the easy way is less costly to us than learning the truth the hard way through our own investigation of it. Disobedience is the high cost way of learning the hostile truth. God told Adam and Eve that the fire was hot (Genesis 3:3). Yet, Adam and Eve did not listen to God - they did not obey. They only agreed with God that the fire was hot after they put their fingers into the flames (John 20:19-29). Adam and Eve learned the hostile truth the hard way by experiencing it themselves instead of learning it the easy way by taking God at his word.

 

Adam and Eve’s Investigation into the Valley of Tears Prompted God’s Rescue Mission into the Valley of Tears

Like foolish children, Adam and Eve ran away from their home in the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8-9) with God and his Holy Family (Ezekiel 28:13) and took us with them into the Valley of Tears. Happiness was forsaken for misery. But danger invites rescue so God devised a plan to rescue them and their children.

 

Adam and Eve’s Verdict was Based on Inadequate Data about the Valley of Tears

Basing their verdict on inadequate data about the Valley of Tears (Genesis 3:5) caused Adam and Eve to reach the wrong verdict. Adam and Eve did not have enough evidence to render the right verdict. They only knew paradise. They did not know godlessness. They only had the illusion that the serpent conjured up that sugarcoated the sourness of godlessness (Genesis 3:5). The serpent fouled the fuel of truth with illusion. The children of Adam and Eve, therefore, will be given enough evidence to render the right verdict. They will have better data. They will taste for themselves the sourness of godlessness. They will have first hand knowledge of the Valley of Tears. Experience will prepare them. They will know their options.

In contrast to Adam and Eve, the children of Adam and Eve have first hand experience with the sour truth of the Valley of Tears. We stew in it for a lifetime. Our teachers are the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction (Isaiah 30:20-22). The rod is not spared on the children of Adam and Eve in the Valley of Tears. Spare the rod and spoil the children (Proverbs 13:24) (Hebrews 12:5-11).

 

Did Adam and Eve's Fact Finding Mission into the Valley of Tears offend God? 

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Supremely confident in the liberating power of the truth, God let Adam and Eve conduct their own investigation. He did not stand in the way. He did not stop them. Even though an expedition of exploration into the Valley of Tears was contrary to their self-interest, he was unwilling to turn paradise into a prison, himself into a warden and them into prisoners to keep them in paradise. A cage is still a cage no matter how gilded. Nor did he drag them back to paradise against their wills while they kicked and screamed like recalcitrant children. He let their exercise of free will play out. God knew that in the course of their investigation they would learn the truth and the truth would make them free (John 8:32). They would learn the truth the hard way. Instead of accepting God's word, they would would figure out the truth for themselves.

 

The Valley of Tears

 

The Valley of Tears

The Valley of Tears (Hail Holy Queen) is as foul as Eden was fair - as hostile as Eden was hospitable. As we pass through the Valley of Tears, we eat the bread of adversity and drink the water of affliction (Isaiah 30:20-22). The rod is not spared on the children of Adam and Eve in the Valley of Tears. Spare the rod and spoil the children (Proverbs 13:24) (Hebrews 12:5-11).

 

The Valley of Tears is Hostile Territory

In the Valley of Tears we find ourselves in hostile territory behind enemy lines under fire. Incoming! Duck!

 

The Army of Hostile Crosses that Occupy the Valley of Tears

The Valley of Tears (Psalm 23:4) hosts an army of hostile crosses that besieges us as we pass through it, across the Red Sea of death, the worst and the last of our crosses (1 Corinthians 15:26) and into the promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 13:27).

 

The Baptismal Font

The Valley of Tears is the baptismal font in which we are baptized in a baptism of evil.

 

The Medicine

 

Why Does God Let Us Stew in the Valley of Tears Like Pickles in a Barrel of Brine?

Stewing in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears is medicine. It is harsh but effective. God prescribes the medicine because the medicine works.

 

The Medicine

Our Baptism in the Toxic Truth of the Valley of Tears is Harsh but Effective Medicine

We are baptized in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears. In the Valley of Tears, we stew for a lifetime like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine. The treatment is harsh but effective medicine. Our baptism in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears is an essential step on the journey of the new exodus on the escape route into the promised land. Many benefits accrue to us from stewing in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears.

 

Baptism

Does a relationship exist between the sacrament of baptism and our real baptism in the Valley of Tears? Or are they separate, independent, unrelated events?

The Valley of Tears is the font that holds the evil in which we are baptized.

The sacrament of baptism is a microcosm of our real baptism in the Valley of Tears.

The Sacrament of Baptism is firmly anchored into the reality of our real baptism in the Valley of Tears.

In the sacrament of baptism, we are immersed in water in a baptismal font. In our real baptism, God lets us stew for a lifetime in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears as pickles stew in a barrel of toxic brine.

We will be baptized in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears whether we like it or not (Matthew 20:22). There is no shortcut by which we can avoid the Valley of Tears. It is not a Maginot Line that we can go around. There is no bridge over it or tunnel under it. We must pass through it. As meat passes through a grinder, we pass through it. As grist passes through a mill, we pass through it. No exceptions. Jesus himself underwent baptism (Matthew 3:13-17).

In the sacrament of baptism, the priest anoints us with the sign of the Cross because the Cross shows us the best way to proceed through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of death and into the promised land.  JESUS HUNG FROM HIS CROSS TO TEACH US HOW TO HANG FROM OUR CROSSES. He clung to love for us, held tight and refused to let go even though we tortured and killed him. Therefore, when you hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung, love as Jesus loved. Hold tight and refuse to let go of love, our cross’s invincible foe.  Jesus blazed a trail through the Valley of Tears and invites us to follow him through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of death and into the promised land. The Sign of the Cross in the sacrament of baptism reminds us that Jesus is the escape route (John 14:6).

Love has the property of buoyancy. It turns our deflated hearts into flotation devices. Love is the life preserver that keeps us afloat in the rough waters of our baptism in the Valley of Tears (Matthew 14:27-31).

It is said that the sacrament of baptism frees us from original sin. Our real baptism in the Valley of Tears stops us from repeating the original sin of our parents, Adam and Eve. When the gift of paradise is delivered to us - and the gift of paradise is already in the pipeline for delivery - we shall keep it. We shall not fumble the ball. Unlike Adam and Eve, God vaccinates us with harsh but effective medicine. He allows us to experience the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears for ourselves so we know better than to let the gift of paradise to slip through our fingers. The prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty (Luke 15:11-32) . Neither are we. By letting us put our fingers in the flame, we learn for ourselves that the fire is hot. The heat of the fire teaches us not to put our fingers back into the flames.

Our knowledge of the toxicity of a life lived without God in the Valley of Tears is the glue that creates an indissoluble bond between the children of Adam and Eve and the gift of paradise.

What are the blessings that come from our real baptism in the Valley of Tears? Why does God let us stew in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears for a lifetime? We derive blessings from our bitter baptism in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears. 1) It defangs the serpent. It drains the serpent's illusion that we become gods without God in the Valley of Tears of its power to deceive. It unmasks the lie and the liar (John 8:44) . 2) It increases the credibility of God. God warned us that the Valley of Tears sucked. 3) It serves as medicine that vaccinates us against a repetition of the original sin of our parents, Adam and Eve. The prodigal son will never go back to the pig sty (Luke 15:11-32). Neither will we.

 

The Valley of Tears is Auto-didactic.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH THE TRUTH ITSELF IS THE MOST POWERFUL MEANS OF PERSUASION.  God does not use half measures. God uses the most powerful means of persuasion. God, understanding the art of persuasion, applies both the sour truth and the sweet truth to our rationality to persuade us. The Valley of Tears is auto-didactic. By letting us put our fingers in the flame, we learn for ourselves that the fire is hot. The heat of the fire teaches us not to put our fingers back into the flames.

 

Stewing in the Valley of Tears Empties the Serpent’s Tank of Credibility

Stewing in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears defangs the serpent. The serpent testified we become gods without God in the Valley of Tears (Genesis 3:5.) God testified that, without God, we perish (Genesis 3:3). Our first hand experience with the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears defangs the serpent. It drains the serpent's illusion of its power to deceive. The toxic truth is the sledgehammer that shatters the illusion conjured up by the serpent that sugarcoated the Valley of Tears. It shatters the illusion as a hammer shatters glass. We learn from the toxic truth that, contrary to the testimony of the serpent, we do not become gods without God in the Valley of Tears (Genesis 3:5). Without God, we perish (Genesis 3:3.) The toxic truth of the Valley of Tears reduces the credibility of the serpent to zero.

 

Stewing in the Valley of Tears Fills God’s Tank of Credibility

God got it right. God testified that, without God, in the Valley of Tears, we perish  (Genesis 3:3). Stewing in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears fills God’s tank of credibility. God tells the truth.

 

Stewing in the Valley of Tears Reduces to Near Zero the Likelihood that We will Repeat the Original Sin of our Parent’s, Adam and Eve.

The gift of paradise was delivered to Lucifer. However, he dropped the ball. He let the gift of paradise slip through his fingers. So did the gaggle of angels who follow Lucifer. So did Eve. So did Adam. So did the prodigal son. When the gift of paradise is delivered to the children of Adam and Eve, however, they will keep it. They won’t drop the ball. Having been baptized in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears, we know better. The prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty. Neither are we.

 

God is the Gluemaker

God makes the glue that binds us indissolubly to the gift of paradise. By stewing in the Valley of Tears for a lifetime, we learn about the toxicity of a life lived without God. The knowledge of the toxicity of a life lived without God in the Valley of Tears is the glue that creates an indissoluble bond between the children of Adam and Eve and the gift of paradise. When the children of Adam and Eve receive the gift of paradise - and its delivery is ineluctable - they will keep it. They will not fumble the ball. The prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty. Neither will we. We know better. We stuck our finger into the flames and now know for ourselves by personal experience that the fire is hot.

 

Heaven’s Customer Service Department

Letting us stew in the hostile truth of the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine generates all of the complaints about God's rescue plan. Passing through the Valley of Tears keeps the customer service department of paradise busy. More than a few have cursed their bitter experience in the Valley of Tears in the foulest of language and waved their fists against God. The hostile truth of the Valley of Tears is the platform from which many jump to the incorrect conclusion that God is a malicious misanthrope instead of a benevolent philanthropist. Put the blame for our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears, however, on the proper culprit. God did not put us in the Valley of Tears. The serpent did. God started humanity in paradise. At the most, God can be blamed for not extricating us from the Valley of Tears as quickly as we would like. God's rescue of us is too slow. 'What took you so long?' 'Why did you procrastinate?' are our only legitimate complaints against God. Yet, even this complaint is unwarranted. Passing through the Valley of Tears is medicine, harsh but effective. Therefore, God prescribes it. Stewing for a lifetime in the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine bears fruit Luke 6:43-45.

 

More Sweet Truth; Less Sour Truth

The sour truth pushes us to the exit of godlessness. The sweet truth pulls us to the entrance of paradise. Both - the sweet truth and the sour truth - are engines that generate the current of salvation. Each drives our progress along the escape route through the Valley of Tears from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his Holy Family in the promised land. The two engines are the belt and suspenders that hold up the pants of salvation. They provide a state of double redundancy. Only one is necessary. It is quite rational to pray, therefore, for more sweet truth and less sour truth

 

The Truth

 

The Engines of Truth Drive the New Exodus

The truth is the engine that drives the new exodus along the escape route through the Valley of Tears from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his Holy Family in the promised land. The engines of truth generate the current of salvation. The current of salvation flows from the sourness of godlessness to the sweetness of paradise. The mighty river of truth sweeps us off our feet and carries us to our salvation. Only the recalcitrant few try to swim against it.

 

Only Reality is Reliable

Despite the evil we did to him, Our God continues to love us nonetheless. Therefore, rejoice and be glad! Our God is our almighty lover - our friend not our foe. He wants to help us not to hurt us. He is a philanthropist not a sadist. Whom shall we fear? Of whom shall we be afraid (Psalm 27) ? Will our almighty lover ever let us down? Will he ever disappoint? His love for us is real. Its reality was verified for us in the violent collision between Jesus, our Savior, and the evil we did to him. God himself put the proof into our hands. Only reality is reliable. We can depend on the reality of his love for us. His love for us is the rock on which the wise build their lives. Build your lives on his love for us.

God is offering to help us in our journey through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death, and into the promised land. His offer of help is real. It is now. It is here. Do not spurn his offer of help. Inflate your deflated hearts with love. This is the secret. This is the help that you need.

 

Harsh Medicine

Stewing in the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of brine is harsh medicine.

 

Love is the Sugar that Helps the Medicine Go Down

Love is the sugar that helps the medicine go down (Mary Poppins).

 

Mitigating the Sour Truth of the Valley of Tears

If God did not do something to mitigate the sour truth of the Valley of Tears when he paid us a visit, his visit would have been a colossal waste of time.

 

Diluting the Sour Truth of the Valley of Tears

The Love Note diluted the toxicity of the Valley of Tears in the same way that sugar cubes dilute the bitterness of a cup of coffee.

 

The ‘Grease’

Love is the "grease" that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death, the worst and the last of our crosses (1 Corinthians 15:26) and into the promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 13:27).

 
 

Poking Holes

When our crosses are poking a hole in our hearts to drain them of love, Christians are poking a hole in our crosses to drain them of their sting. How? With love.

 

† THE EXCLAMATION POINT † 

The Word of God (John 1:1) is proficient in punctuation. He is an expert in it. The Crucifixion is the exclamation point that the Word of God affixed to the sentence, 'God loves us'. GOD DOES NOT JUST LOVE US. GOD LOVES US EVEN THOUGH WE TORTURED AND KILLED HIM. Wow! Now, that's love. Always punctuate the sentence in the same way that the Word of God punctuated the sentence. Never omit the exclamation point. Mark Twain said, "The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning." Therefore, illuminate the darkness of our understanding of God not with the lightning-bug, but with the lightning.

 

Landmarks

God erected a number of landmarks to point us to the location of the most apocalyptic revelation about God that Jesus made during his invasion of the Valley of Tears. Here is a brief list of them:

  1. God planted the Cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:17) in the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection to serve as the flag that rallies Christians to the Son of God. Rally 'round the Cross!

  2. The bloody wounds that our evil opened in the body of Christ took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Catch a glimpse of heave from here on earth by looking through his bloody wounds.

  3. Lent is a landmark that God inserted into the life of his Church as an annual celebration to draw our attention to the revelation that God is head over heels in love with us.

  4. The most Holy Eucharist points us to his bloody wounds which were opened on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.

 

Propagation of the Revelation

Propagation of the revelation that God is head over heels in love with us became the issue in the Valley of Tears. Jesus brought the revelation into the Valley of Tears. How would it get from Jesus then and there to us here and now? How would the revelation be transported from Jesus to us across space and over time? The geographic and temporal scope that Jesus could reach himself while he was with us was limited. So the logistics of the revelation’s distribution needed to be worked out. The first step in building a trail of distribution for the revelation across space and over time was to figure out where to store it. Storage was the initial problem to be solved.

One of the candidates for the storage of the revelation were words. Jesus could have put the revelation into words. Words, however, were not used to convey the revelation. Words were too fragile a conveyance to carry the weight of the revelation. The weight of the revelation would crush them as flat as a pancake and spill their meaning all over the place in an unintelligible mess. Such spillage would create a theological disaster of epic misunderstanding! 

The revelation, therefore, was conveyed to us by a vehicle much more robust - and dramatic - than words. It is ironic but the Word of God (John 1:1) wasn't an author. He was a carpenter (Mark 6:3). The carpenter built the revelation, around, about and into the framework of the Cross. [Rally 'round the Cross!] Instead of words, God deposited the revelation into a demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.

The demonstration of divinity is the ‘bank’ into which Jesus deposited the treasure of Christianity (Matthew 13:44) - the ‘book’ in which Jesus wrote the Autobiography of God - the ‘canvas’ on which Jesus painted God’s self-portrait.

Furthermore, to prevent the location of the revelation from becoming lost as the fabled world of Atlantis became lost, Jesus marked the precise location of the revelation with distinctive landmarks including a cross, bloody wounds, Lent and the most Holy Eucharist. The landmarks point to the demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.

Jesus, then, made a map of the location of the revelation, established a Church and entrusted the map to the Church. The Church has the map and knows the way. Christianity is a treasure map for treasure hunters engaged in a treasure hunt. The revelation that God is head over heels in love with us is the treasure. The treasure is stored in a treasure chest. The treasure chest is the demonstration of divinity. The field in which the treasure chest is buried is the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection (Matthew 13:44) .

The escape of the new Exodus passes through his bloody wounds from the Crucifixion on their near side to the Resurrection on their far side. He is the way (John 14:6). "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6). When we pass through his bloody wounds from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, the darkness of our understanding of God is illuminated in a glorious burst of epiphany. In the demonstration of divinity, the Charisma of Christianity manifested itself.


 

The Death of Christianity

The thermometer that gauges the temperature of the body of Christ is the practice of Christianity. By this measure, the patient is moribund - a few breaths away from death.

Christianity is dying not because of hostile external forces. The secular culture is not killing Christianity. Christianity is dying because Christians are killing Christianity (Pogo). Many self-styled Christians castrate God's love for us from the body of Christianity. They snip the vitality and virility of Christianity off at the root. They dilute it. They water it down. Christianity is mismanaged when the role of love in Christianity is misunderstood - not given its proper place. When we extirpate love from the heart of Christianity, we make a monster from whom the children of Adam and Eve flee. In Christianity, love is the point and place of beginning. God is love (1 John 4:8) .

A Christianity that bypasses the heart fails.

When forced to choose between doctrine and love, choose love. Better to sacrifice doctrine on the altar of love than love on the altar of doctrine. Love is always the right choice.

Love is the backbone of Christianity.

 

An Outpost of the Kingdom of God

A child of Adam and Eve whose heart is filled to the brim with love is an outpost of the Kingdom of God in the Valley of Tears.

The job of the Church is to populate the Kingdom of God with children of Adam and Eve whose hearts are filled to the brim with love. No more; no less.

The Valley of Tears is pregnant with multiple children of Adam and Eve who have already been born again into the Kingdom of God because they are filing their hearts to the brim with love - much to the chagrin of the serpent.

 

Three Days

Mother Goose told us that “All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again” (Humpty Dumpty). God did what men and horses couldn’t - he reassembled the Love Note - and did so in just three days (John 2:18-22). Why did God insert a delay of three days between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection (Matthew 12:40) - between the disassembly of the Love Note and its reassembly? A delay of three days was inserted to remind us that short is the time in which we stew in the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of brine before our Resurrection. Our exodus (Luke 9:31) through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death and into the Kingdom of God won’t take long. Soon we will be born again into the Kingdom of God. In fact, those who have already entered the Kingdom of God here in the Valley of Tears will not taste of death (Matthew 16:28) - but will pass from the Valley of Tears to the Kingdom of God having bypassed the Red Sea of Death.

Life is but an infinitesimally thin slice of time compared to the thickness of eternity. Moreover, it gets thinner and thinner with the passage of time. The brevity of life is proof of the mercy of God. Only a misanthropic god would make us stew in the hostile truth of the Valley of Tears for more than a lifetime. A philanthropic God puts an upper limit on our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears.

Shout for joy! Only three days to our Resurrection!

 

The Spark that Ignites the Fire of Christianity

The spark that ignites the fire of Christianity is the revelation that God loves us dearly. Love begets love (John 4: 13-14) (John 10:10)"We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4: 19). The knowledge that God loves us dearly fills our hearts to the brim with love. From hearts filled to the brim with love spring all manner of good things - a cornucopia of blessings. Have you heard it said that we are sacramentalized but not evangelized? The Church’s methodology of transforming godless people into people of God is to stuff our heads with a stultifying codex of byzantine rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole. As a result, the practice of Christianity has become a dull and perfunctory routine. God’s methodology is to fill our heads with the knowledge that God loves us dearly. Which is the better methodology? Which transforms godless people into People of God? Which works? We only become evangelized when we walk with Jesus on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection and witness for ourselves with our own eyes the demonstration of divinity that took place there.

 

The Highest Compliment

The highest compliment that we can bestow on others is to love them. In so doing, we declare them worthy of love.

 

Lent

Lent is a landmark that God inserted into the life of his Church as an annual celebration to draw our attention to the revelation that God is head over heels in love with us. Jesus deposited the revelation into a demonstration of divinity. The demonstration of divinity took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The revelation is the treasure of Christianity. Because the treasure of Christianity is buried in the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection (Matthew 13:44), the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the epicenter of Christianity. It is ironic but the Word of God (John 1:1) wasn't an author. He was a carpenter (Mark 6:3). The carpenter built his most apocalyptic revelation into the demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. He released the revelation into the Valley of Tears and verified its genuineness as well on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. In the Crucifixion, our evil disassembled the Love Note that God had sent us. In the Resurrection, the Love Note was reassembled. Mother Goose told us that “All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again” (Humpty Dumpty). God did what men and horses couldn’t - he reassembled the Love Note - and did so in just three days (John 2:18-22). Was the Love Note counterfeit or genuine? If God’s love for us were counterfeit, it would have faded as we tortured him and would have died when we killed him. But it did not. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. The good news of great joy is that His love for us is a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love (Isaiah 55:8-9) (Psalm 8:4-8 (KJV) [What is man?]).The love note is indestructible! The indestructibility of the love note is the rock on which the wise build their lives (Matthew 7:24-27). Whom shall we fear? Of whom shall we be afraid (Psalm 27)? Will our almighty lover ever let us down? Will he ever disappoint? We are invited to make a withdrawal of the treasure of Christianity (Matthew 6:19-21). The owner of the treasure is overjoyed to share his wealth with us. He wants to make us rich (Isaiah 55: 1-2). Lent is your invitation to walk with Jesus on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Here you become a witness to the revelation yourself with your own eyes. You learn the answer to the question, ‘Who is God?‘. Testify to what you see. Save the world.

 

The Cornerstone that the Builders Rejected

Love is the cornerstone that the builder’s rejected (Psalm 118:22) (Luke 20:17) (Mark 12:10) (Isaiah 28:16) (Matthew 21:42).

 

Prospecting

Our job is not to speculate about God. Ours is the job of the prospector. We are treasure hunters - explorers trying to locate and discover the treasure that Jesus transported from heaven and deposited for us here on earth. Christianity is the treasure map for treasure hunters. On the treasure map, a Cross marks the spot of the treasure.

 

Our Value as Witnesses to the Truth about God

Is there anything that we can say that will contribute to the understanding of God? Are we in a position to answer the question, 'Who is God?'? We are creatures of the earth (Job 38:4). We are not witnesses with knowledge of heavenly things - to things our eyes have not seen and our ears have not heard and our imaginations have not imagined (John 3: 11-13). We are in no position to answer the question, 'Who is God?'. So, let us be still. Let us stop babbling (Genesis 11: 6-7). Let us hold our tongues (Proverbs 21:23). Let us utter not a word (Proverbs 17:28).

 

The "Bank"

Jesus transferred the knowledge that God loves us dearly from himself into a "bank" to preserve it in the Valley of Tears after he returned to his Father's house. The "bank", however, was not a conventional brick and mortar edifice built around a vault. The "bank" is the demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Jesus deposited the treasure of Christianity - the knowledge that God loves us dearly - into the “bank”. The owner of the “bank” invites us to make a withdrawal from the “bank” of the treasure of Christianity (Matthew 6:19-21). He is overjoyed to share his wealth with us (Isaiah 55: 1-2).

 

Bloody Wounds are the Seal God Set on the Love Note 1) to Release the Revelation that God Loves us dearly into the Valley of Tears and 2) to Verify its Authenticity

The seal that God set on the Love Note to release the revelation that God loves us dearly and to verify its authenticity was the seal of bloody wounds. Bloody wounds are the proof that the Love Note is authentic. HIS BLOODY WOUNDS ARE THE MOUTH OF GOD. "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4)The good news of great joy was preached to us through his bloody wounds.  What is the good news of great joy? The good news of great joy is that God loves us dearly. The news does not get any better than that! By his bloody wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5) (1 Peter 2:24).  The gospel without words was preached through his bloody wounds. Witness the truth by watching the traffic through his bloody wounds. Buckets of blood poured through the wounds that our evil opened in his body. On a cataract of blood his very life itself was carried out of his body (John 15:13). But, not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us followed his blood through his wounds and out of his body. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. Bloody wounds (and the Cross and the most Holy Eucharist) are the landmarks that God erected on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection to pinpoint the location of where the revelation that God loves us dearly was released and verified. The good news of great joy was published to us in a demonstration of divinity on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.

 

Encouraging Participation in the Escape of the New Exodus

Do you mind if I tag along? The answer of the new exodus is no, we don't mind, feel free to tag along. May I join you in your lifeboat? The answer is yes, welcome.

 

Deification

Jesus invaded the Valley of Tears riding on a cross to initiate the process of deification. God is trying to deify us. Deification is the process of increasing our resemblance to God. We are made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). He endowed us with the capacity to love (Luke 17:20-21). The greater the love that we hold in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God.  “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.“ (John 13:35).

Both the serpent (Genesis 3:5) and God (CCC #460) promise us deification. Only God, however, can deliver.

 

What is The Problem that God is Trying to Solve?

The problem in God’s eyes is that our hearts are deflated - they are empty of love. The problem in our eyes is our circumstances - adversity haunts us in the Valley of Tears - the Valley of Tears falls short of a Utopia. God’s solution to the problem is, therefore, different than our solution (Isaiah 55:8-9). God is trying to inflate our deflated hearts with love. God is trying to elevate us from the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast to the level of God whose heart is filled to the brim with love.

 

The Only Victory that Matters 

We want God to eliminate the army of hostile crosses that besieges us as we pass through the Valley of Tears or to extricate us from the Valley of Tears now. God, however, does not. God has a different agenda.God wants us to deny ourselves, pick up and carry our crosses (Matthew 16:24). There is a difference in opinions. His prevails. God presents us with THE CHALLENGE OF THE CROSS because the only way to deny ourselves, to pick up and to carry our crosses is by filling our hearts to the brim with love. Love turns us into superman with the strength to succeed in the challenge of the cross. Our crosses teach us to love. God does not eradicate our crosses or evacuate us from the Valley of Tears immediately in the hope that we might discover the sublimity and utility of love. We can let our crosses crush us under their unbearable weight. Or we can cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go. The choice on how to deal with our crosses is ours. Only People of God can succeed in the challenge of the Cross. Succeeding in the challenge of the Cross is the only victory that matters to God. His Son succeeded. How about you?

 

How Do We Tap into the Power of the Love Note?

By keeping our hearts filled to the brim with love, we tap into the power of the Love Note

 

How Stupid Do you Think God is?

How stupid do you think God is? Do you think that God relies on us - whose parents, Adam and Eve, failed in Eden, to save ourselves by dint of our own efforts from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears? Aren’t we the weak link in the process of our salvation? Don’t you think that God is smart enough to figure out a way to rescue us from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears without depending on us to be our own savior? Don’t you think that God has a trick or two up his sleeve to get us to keep the gift of paradise after God delivers it to us? How did he rescue humanity before the advent of Jesus? How is he rescuing the 80+% of the world that is not Christian?

 

The Change God Made to Increase the Likelihood that We Would Keep the Gift of Paradise After We Get It

God gave the gift of life and the gift of paradise simultaneously to Lucifer, to the gaggle of angels who follow Lucifer, to Eve, to Adam and to the prodigal son. However, with regard to the children of Adam and Eve, God changed the timetable for the delivery of gifts. He delivers the gift of life and the gift of paradise to the children of Adam and Eve sequentially instead of simultaneously. He inserted a delay between the gift of life and the gift of paradise. Why? All of the beneficiaries of simultaneous delivery fumbled the ball. They let the gift of paradise slip through their fingers. They didn’t keep it. God wants the children of Adam and Eve to keep the gift of paradise when the gift of paradise is delivered to them. The delay increases the likelihood that we will keep the gift of paradise when it is delivered to us. Our experience in the Valley of Tears between the gift of life and the gift of paradise educates us. It is the sledgehammer that shatters the sugarcoating that the serpent poured over the sour truth of the Valley of Tears to distort our perception of reality. As we pass through the Valley of Tears, we eat the bread of adversity and drink the water of affliction (Isaiah 30:20-22). The rod is not spared on the children of Adam and Eve in the Valley of Tears. Spare the rod and spoil the children (Proverbs 13:24) (Hebrews 12:5-11). Having put our fingers into the flames we know that the fire is hot. Once burned; twice shy. The prodigal son will never return to the pig sty and neither will we. We know better.

 

Love Begets Love which, in Turn, Begets Trust

Knowing that God loves us dearly makes it easier for us to trust in him. The knowledge that God loves us dearly begets trust. It raises our confidence in God to heavenly heights. "What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God."  (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756). The power of love to beget trust is the reason that Jesus, the Son of God, published the fact that God loves us dearly in the demonstration of divinity that he staged and starred in on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. More was revealed to us about our God without any words in this demonstration of divinity than in all of the words about God combined. Jesus showed us divinity. God was done not said. Therefore, make God’s love for us known to the children of Adam and Eve. How? One way not to do it is to try to shove dogma down our throats by dint of omnipotence. This triggers our gag reflex. We will only regurgitate the dogma. However, when the children of Adam and Eve discover the dogma for themselves by dint of their own exploration, we swallow it hook, line and sinker. Same dogma; different methodology; different result. Therefore, walk with them on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Make them witnesses to the demonstration of divinity. Let them see for themselves God not in words but in action. God supplied the premise for the children of Adam and Eve. The children of Adam and Eve, not the Church, draw the conclusion.

 

The Source of our Complaints about God

All of our complaints about God’s plan to rescue us from our dire predicament in the
Valley of Tears arise from the application of the sour truth to our rationality. Indeed, the application of the sour truth to our rationality is harsh medicine. God allows us to put our fingers in the flames to learn for ourselves that the fire is hot. However, the medicine is also effective. Having experienced the flames for ourselves, we will not let the gift of paradise slip through our fingers. When the gift of paradise is delivered to us, we will keep it. We will not repeat the original sin of our parents, Adam and Eve. The prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty. Neither are we. Didn’t somebody once say, ‘spare the rod and spoil the children’ (Proverbs 13:24) (Hebrews 12:5-11)?

 

Harder or Easier?

Did Jesus pay us a visit to make our journey through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of death and into the Kingdom of God harder or to make it easier? Is Jesus a sadist or a philanthropist? Is he our friend or our foe?

 

Love is the Sugar that Helps the Medicine Go Down

Love is the sugar that helps the medicine go down (Mary Poppins).

Love mitigates the direness of our predicament in the Valley of Tears.

Love is the "grease" that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death, the worst and the last of our crosses (1 Corinthians 15:26) and into the promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 13:27).

Jesus hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from our crosses. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go even though we tortured and killed him. He recommends that we do likewise. Therefore, when you hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung, love as Jesus loved. Hold tight and refuse to let go of love, sufferings invincible foe.

Love is the cushion that we put on the sharp corners and sharp edges of life to childproof it for the children of Adam and Eve. Power is not the cushion. Wealth is not the cushion. Intelligence is not the cushion. Good looks are not the cushion. The cushion is love.

A flat heart, like a flat tire, makes the ride through the Valley of Tears rough. Therefore, the Son of God paid us a visit TO INFLATE OUR DEFLATED HEARTS WITH LOVE. He came to change the tire. The Son of God is A PHILANTHROPIST NOT A SADIST. He is OUR FRIEND NOT OUR FOE. He paid us a visit to make our journey through the forest of crosses that besiege us as we pass through the Valley of Tears (Psalm 23:4), across the Red Sea of death, the worst and the last of our crosses (1 Corinthians 15:26), and into the promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 13:27), EASIER NOT HARDER (Matthew 11:29-30).

For your own sake, fill your heart to the brim with love.

A heart filled with love is a flotation device. It lifts us out of our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears. It launches us into the stratosphere above the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts..

 

Lightening the Load

Love makes our crosses lighter. Love gives our crosses wings. "If a person bears great love in himself, this love gives him wings, as it were, and he can face all life’s troubles more easily because he carries in himself this great light; this is faith: being loved by God and letting oneself be loved by God in Jesus Christ. Letting oneself be loved in this way is the light that helps us to bear our daily burden." .

 

The Road to Jesus Passes through His Bloody Wounds

His bloody wounds are the door to Jesus. To get to Jesus, we need to pass through his bloody wounds.

The road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection passes through his bloody wounds.

Enter the Kingdom of God by passing through his bloody wounds.

We opened the door to the Kingdom of God when our evil opened bloody wounds in the body of Christ.

 

His Bloody Wounds are the Narrow Gate

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

The most apocalyptic demonstration of divinity - a showing not a telling - God done not God said - took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection passes through his bloody wounds. His bloody wounds are the narrow gate. Only by taking the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection that passes through his bloody wounds, do we enter the kingdom of God - do we acquire the knowledge that God loves us dearly. His many wounds flowing with blood are the flashing neon signs that draw our attention to the demonstration of divinity. By watching the traffic through his bloody wounds, we witness the truth about the nature of God. Witness the truth by watching the traffic through his bloody wounds. Buckets of blood poured through the wounds that our evil opened in his body. On a cataract of blood his very life itself was carried out of his body (John 15:13). But, not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us followed his blood through his wounds and out of his body. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us.

 

The Telescope

To catch a glimpse of Heaven from here on Earth, follow the narrative of salvation as it proceeds from the Crucifixion on the near side of his bloody wounds, through them, to the Resurrection on the far side of his bloody wounds. Don't just look at his bloody wounds; look through them. When we look through his bloody wounds as we would look through a telescope, we catch a glimpse of heaven from here on earth.

 

The Logistics of Moving a Camel through the Eye of a Needle

Why is it more difficult for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:24)? The direness of our predicament in the Valley of Tears is one of the two engines of salvation. The other engine is the sweetness of paradise. The sweetness of paradise pulls us to the entrance of paradise. The direness of our predicament in the Valley of Tears pushes us to its exit. However, the serpent cast an illusion that sugarcoats the direness of our predicament in the Valley of Tears. The sugarcoating induced Adam and Eve to run away, like foolish children, from their home with God in paradise and take us with them into the Valley of Tears. The sugarcoating is thicker for the rich man than for the poor man. The thickness of the sugarcoating makes it harder to shatter. The thicker the sugarcoating, the harder the sledgehammer of truth needs to work. A rich man thinks that he can exploit his riches to fend off the crosses that besiege us as we pass through the Valley of Tears (Luke 12:13-21). His riches can hold the crosses at bay. The poor man, not having the cushion of riches between himself and his crosses, is more aware than the rich man of the direness of his predicament. Riches conjure up the dangerous illusion of safety and of independence from God (Luke 12:16-21). Riches give the rich man a false sense of security. A poor man with no resources is much more likely to turn to God than a rich man with resources.

 
“The quality of mercy is not strain’d, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”
— Portia in Shakespeare's the Merchant Of Venice Act 4, Scene 1
 

Climbing the Ladder of Love 

The recommendation of Jesus to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48) was made not for the benefit of our enemies. It was made to benefit ourselves. It is in our self-interest to love in all circumstances, in adversity and prosperity. A heart filled to the brim with love benefits us. Without love, we transmogrify ourselves into the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts. Filling our hearts to the brim with love allows each of us to ascend from the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast to the level of God. TO ELEVATE OURSELVES ABOVE THE HOSTILITY OF THE VALLEY OF TEARS, WE CLIMB THE LADDER OF LOVE. On what rung of the ladder of love do you stand? Are you ascending, descending or stuck in place?

 

Our Salvation is Driven by the Truth

Rational creatures behave in a predictable manner. We follow a pattern. It is not a complicated pattern. Sweetness attracts us. Honey draws the bees back home to the hive. Sourness repels us. We flee from it. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise. Hence, the truth can drive us.  "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).

 

The Sweetness of Paradise

God’s power made paradise for us. God’s love for us, however, is the ingredient that makes paradise sweet. It is the honey that draws the bees back home to the hive. Rational creatures seek the sweetness of paradise [and flee the sourness of godlessness.] It is contrary to their self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise.

 

The Death of Christianity

The thermometer that gauges the temperature of the body of Christ is the practice of Christianity. By this measure, the patient is moribund - a few breaths away from death.

Christianity is dying not because of hostile external forces. The secular culture is not killing Christianity. Christianity is dying because Christians are killing Christianity (Pogo). We have excluded God from the conversation. Christianity is the home of God. We have exiled God from his home. God is now homeless and Christianity is now godless. We have turned God’s home over to other, lesser aspects of Christianity. Our focus has been hijacked by little things. Minutiae has sidetracked us. We have allowed our God to become a stranger to us and nobody follows a stranger  (John 10:5) (Psalm 69:8) (Exodus 2:22). We need to learn that God is our friend not our foe - a philanthropist not a misanthrope.

 

The Castration of Christianity

Love begets love. However, many self-styled Christians castrate God's love for us from the body of Christianity. They snip the vitality and virility of Christianity off at the root. They dilute God's love for us. They water it down. They deprecate it. They turn the lightning into the lightning bug - the bright star into the dull spark - the cacophonous explosion into a dull pop. They make the big small. They treat us like infants by reducing Christianity into a trivial child’s game. They give us crayons and a coloring book whose drawings are divided into parts and numbered. They admonish us to follow the numbers, color within the lines or go to hell. Their Christianity is based solely on the head and bypasses the heart. Their goal is to fill our heads with a stultifying codex of byzantine rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole. This, however, is not the foundation of Christianity. The foundation of Christianity is a love note - a love note from God to us. Christianity is an adventure in love. Christianity is going down the tubes because the keepers of Christianity have such a warped view of it. Theirs is not the Christianity that Jesus intended. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). It is time to put away this childish view of Christianity (1 Corinthians 13:11). Jesus invaded the Valley of Tears riding on a cross to invite us to help him save the universe. He wants us to help him to expand the boundaries of the outpost of the Kingdom of God that he established in the Valley of Tears. He wants us to become, like him, building blocks of love. He wants us to find our place with him, shoulder to shoulder, cheek to jowl, as a comrade-in-arms, in the great firewall of Christianity. Only by filling our heads to the brim with the knowledge of God and our hearts to the brim with love, do we help God save the universe. In the process of saving the universe, we save ourselves. Therefore, put away your coloring book and crayons. Start helping God save the universe.

 

HOW DO WE CLIMB INTO AND EXPLORE THE INNER WORKINGS OF THE MIND OF GOD? 

God has established trailheads in many places upon the earth from which we start our journey through the inner workings of the mind of God. We explore from here to there. The trailheads are clues that God has left with us on which we base our conclusions about the nature of God. We reverse engineer the clues to discover the content of the mind of God.  A good cleric knows the trail heads of the best trails that take us through the mind of God.

 

REVERSE ENGINEERING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS TO DISCOVER THE INNER WORKINGS OF THE MIND OF GOD 


Have you ever entered and explored the Mind of God? Religious people enter and explore the mind of God. Are you a religious person?Exploring the mind of God is a vacation from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears. Atheists and agnostics miss out on the pleasure. They have no interest in the mind of God. Perfunctory Christians also do little exploring. Yet, God stands at our doors and knocks Revelation 3:20 waiting for us to open the door and sup with him and he with us. God uses the image of "supping" together to tell us that exploring the mind of God is as essential to our survival as eating and drinking. Without consuming food and drink, we die of hunger and thirst. Without exploring the mind of God, death is just as certain. 

There are many ways to enter and explore the mind of God. God has established trailheads in many places. Let us start at one particular trailhead, the Ten Commandments. Let us reverse engineer the Ten Commandments to discover the content of the mind of God. Let us look beneath each commandment to try to discover a common pattern - a single substrate on which each is based - a common design from which each of them spring. 

1) “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have any strange gods before Me.”[Love of God] 

2) “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” [Love of God] 

3) “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.” [Love of Yourself] 

4) “Honor thy father and mother.” [Love of Parents] 

5) “Thou shalt not kill.” [Love of Neighbor] 

6) “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” [Love of Spouse] 

7) “Thou shalt not steal.” [Love of Neighbor] 

8) “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” [Love of Neighbor] 

9) “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” [Love of Neighbor] 

10) “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.” [Love of Neighbor] 

As you can see, each of the Ten Commandments is based on love. All of them are particular expressions of Love - instances that arise from the archetype of Love. In the Ten Commandments, God is advocating love to us. 

Congratulations! You have entered and explored the mind of God and discovered that the mind of God is love. 

P.S. Remember this: Christians do not just read about going on safari. They go on safari. They explore the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God for themselves. Christianity is field work not classroom work. Each of us must be the pilot of our own soul. We cannot subcontract the job to another. We cannot delegate it. No one else can do it for us not even our Church. It cannot be done vicariously. Seeking God is a unique, idiosyncratic, personal experience. There is no substitute for going through it. Why? In the process of seeking God, God transforms us. Unless we do it ourselves, we cannot be transformed. 

P.P.S. The Catechism of the Catholic Chursh consists of 920 pages. The Ten Commandments consists of 1 page. Which better illuminates the darkness of our understanding of God? Which is the greater achievement? 

P.P.P.S. The Holy Spirit is tugging at our souls. The curious are following the tug back to its source. Are you curious? The question that clerics ought to be asking the children of Adam and Eve is this: "Have you entered and explored the mind of God?" Have you taken part in the adventure?"

 

Avoiding the Detour that Bypasses the Road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection

A wonderful revelation was given to us in the demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Success in Christianity means avoiding the detour around it. When we contemplate the demonstration of divinity, the darkness of our understanding of God is illuminated in a glorious burst of epiphany. It is the foundation of our understanding of God. It is the source of our faith in the fact that God loves us dearly. It generates a high fidelity representation of the reality of God to supplant all of our low fidelity, human-made representations. Therefore, at all cost, avoid the detour around the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the way (John 14:6) to proceed.

 

The Crux of Christianity

What apocalyptic revelation about God did Jesus transport from heaven to earth and how did Jesus reveal it to us? Jesus revealed the fact that God loves us dearly. He revealed it by staging and starring in a demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The demonstration of divinity is the ‘bank’ into which Jesus deposited the treasure of Christianity (Matthew 13:44) - the ‘book’ in which Jesus wrote the Autobiography of God - the ‘canvas’ on which Jesus painted God’s self-portrait.

How does God react to the evil we do? God himself showed us in a demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. God’s reaction was radically asymmetrical (Isaiah 55:8-9). What does this tell us about God?

Jesus published the fact that God loves us dearly in a demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The radical asymmetry between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection highlighted the radical asymmetry between us and our God (Isaiah 55:8-9). He did not answer our evil in kind. Thankfully, he changed the tone of the conversation.

On his back, Jesus carried the revelation that God loves us as he trod the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The road that the revelation took verified the genuineness of the revelation. If the revelation were counterfeit, his love for us would have faded as we tortured him and would have died when we killed him. But it did not. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. The survival of his love for us is irrefutable proof that his love for us is real.

Fall into the warm embrace of the fact that God is head over heals in love with us. This is the point and place of beginning. This is the heart and soul of Christianity. All Christianity flows from here. The law of symmetry holds that love begets love (John 4: 13-14) (John 10:10)"We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4: 19). The knowledge that God loves us fills our hearts to the brim with love.

Rest your head on the pillow of the revelation that showed itself on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection to sleep the sleep of the angels.

 

The Mathematics of Divinity 

To understand the mathematics of divinity requires that we move beyond independent whole numbers to interrelated fractions. Fractions compare two numbers. Comparison is a structure that conveys meaning in addition to the separate meaning conveyed by the content of the comparison. Any attempt to describe divinity is defective that does not include a comparison. A comparison is essential to the creation of a high fidelity representation of the reality of God. To create a high fidelity representation of the reality of God, what needs to be compared? The first item that belongs in our comparison is the Crucifixion - our brutal hostility to him. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. He paid for the publication here on earth of the Autobiography of God with his life. Exorbitant is the price of publication, no (John 15:12-13)? He paid the exorbitant price not from his limitless divine resources. He paid the exorbitant price from his limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else. The Crucifixion is the denominator of the divine fraction. The numerator of the divine fraction is the Resurrection. The Resurrection - his gentle answer to our brutal hostility - is the second item that belongs in our comparison. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he did not stay dead is the proof of the power of Jesus. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he did not stop loving us is the proof that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is also love. Wow! In non mathematical language, the divine fraction can be expressed as follows: Resurrection / Crucifixion. How many times does the denominator go into the numerator? An infinite number of times. The result is an irrational number  (Matthew 18:22). His answer to our brutal hostility was unexpected. The intransigency of his love for sinners does not make any sense. Divinity is the indissoluble marriage between power and love - a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love (Isaiah 55:8-9) (Psalm 8:4-8 [What is man?]).

 

The Baptism of Jesus

We baptized Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17) in a boiling cauldron of torture and death (Mark 10:38). The baptism was akin to a science experiment that we do at school. From the experiment, information emerges. In our experiment with Jesus (Matthew 4:7), incandescent truth emerged from the blackhole of death (Black Hole Information Paradox) that illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. Therefore, listen first to the truth that emerged from the wicked baptism into which we immersed Jesus before you listen to what others have said about him elsewhere. Listen to his answer to the evil we did to him. Behold his demonstration of divinity. Rest your faith in God upon it.

 

LOW FIDELITY, HUMAN-MADE REPRESENTATIONS OF THE REALITY OF GOD 

A high fidelity representation of the reality of God was revealed to us in the demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The revelation is the definitive representation of God - an authentic, first-class representation of God. Its high fidelity is unmatched by the many low fidelity representations of God made by human hands (Numbers 12:8). In fact, God banned us from making representations of him in the first place because of the low fidelity of human made representations (Exodus 20:4-6) (Deuteronomy 5:7-9) (Isaiah 44:6-18) (Micah 1:7) (Hosea 13). Better no representation than an inaccurate representation.   All lesser representations of God, therefore, must yield to the representation that God gave us in the demonstration of divinity.

 

For later distribution to the children of Adam and Eve across both space and time, Jesus first transferred the revelation into a storage device here on earth. He encoded the revelation into a demonstration of divinity. The demonstration of divinity took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the golden thread of truth that Jesus himself wove into the very fabric of reality itself. It was the substrate of reality on which the true story of God unfolded. Jesus staged and starred in the demonstration of divinity. It is the DNA of Christianity. It is the premise that generates an understanding of God if we make an effort to draw the conclusions about God from it. When we follow the demonstration of divinity from its beginning to its end, the darkness of our understanding of God is illuminated in a glorious burst of epiphany.

 

An Exercise in Cryptography

The road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the golden thread of truth. The Son of God deposited a revelation about God into a demonstration of divinity that took place on the golden thread of truth for us to decode. He then wove the golden thread of truth into the very fabric of reality. Jesus did not tell us about divinity. Jesus showed us divinity. Divinity was done not said. The reward from this exercise in cryptography is a better understanding of God - a high fidelity representation of the reality of God.

 

Expressions of the Truth

God does not limit his expression of the truth to words. It is ironic but the Word of God (John 1:1) wasn't an author. He was a carpenter (Mark 6:3). The carpenter built his most apocalyptic revelation into a demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.

 

The Star of the Show

Jesus, the Son of God himself, starred in the demonstration of divinity not some flunky running errands for him. We are but ushers who show the curious tourists of Christianity to their seats so that God can put on the show. God, not us, is the star of the show. The enterprise of Christianity goes off the rails when we start to think that we are the stars of the show.

 

Jesus Staged and Starred in a Demonstration of Divinity

To put into our hands a high fidelity representation of the reality of God, Jesus both staged and starred in a demonstration of divinity. The stage on which the demonstration of divinity took place was the road between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The juxtaposition of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection highlighted the radical asymmetry between us and our God (Isaiah 55:8-9). We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He rose from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive revealed to us the power of Jesus. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than power. Our conception of divinity as power is incomplete - flawed. Divinity is also love. If his love for us were counterfeit, God’s love for us would have faded as we tortured him and died when we killed him. But it did not. It survived. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. The conclusion, therefore, is that God’s love for us is genuine. God is still head over heels in love with us despite the evil we did to him.

 

The Intermediate Step

Jesus did not hand off the revelation about God that he transported from heaven to earth directly to the Church. There was an intermediate step. He deposited the revelation into a demonstration of divinity that took place in the sequence of events that started at and about Crucifixion, proceeded through the bloody wounds of the Son of God and ended at the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 1:17).  In the demonstration of divinity, the revelation is stored. From the demonstration of divinity, the revelation is distributed to the children of Adam and Eve. The deposit of the revelation into the demonstration of divinity is the premise from which we draw our own conclusion.

 

The Vessel into which God Poured More and Better Theology

God poured more and better theology into the demonstration of divinity that took place in the sequence of events that started at and about Crucifixion, proceeded through the bloody wounds of the Son of God and ended at the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 1:17) than into the heads of every apologist, theologian, Doctor of the Church, apostle, monk, abbot, mystic, priest, monsignor, bishop, Cardinal, Pope, hermit and saint who has ever lived or will ever live.

 

The Magna Carta

The demonstration of divinity that took place in the sequence of events that started at and about Crucifixion, proceeded through the bloody wounds of the Son of God and ended at the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 1:17) is the Magna Carta that God gave the children of Adam and Eve to safeguard the peasantry of Christianity from the tyranny of the aristocracy of Christianity. When the aristocracy deviate from the doctrine taught by the demonstration of divinity, the peasantry stand up, point to the demonstration of divinity and cry foul.

 

The Guarantee of God’s Love for Us

By the demonstration of divinity that took place in the sequence of events that started at and about Crucifixion, proceeded through the bloody wounds of the Son of God and ended at the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 1:17), God delivered to us a guarantee that the love note (What type of literature is the Word of God? The word of God is a love note.) was genuine. If the love note were counterfeit, God’s love for us would have faded as we tortured him and died when we killed him. But it did not. It survived. His love for us survived the evil we did to him.

 

The Most Holy Eucharist

During each and every Mass at multiple locations across the face of the earth for more than two thousand years, priests have held up the 2nd Landmark that marks the location of the revelation that fills the gap in our knowledge of God. The 1st Landmark was the Son of God with bloody wounds riding on a cross. The 2nd Landmark is the Son of God with bloody wounds riding on the most Holy Eucharist. Both landmarks point us to a specific, well-defined location within the boundaries of Christianity. The specific, well-defined location is the demonstration of divinity that took place in the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through the bloody wounds of the Son of God and ended at the Resurrection. The sequence of events is the platform from which Jesus published the identity of God for us in a most spectacular, radically asymmetric fashion (Isaiah 55:8-9).. In the sequence of events, Jesus introduced God to us - we make God’s acquaintance. If you do not read the meaning of the sequence of events or, read it, but do not understand it, you do not know your God.

The 2nd Landmark conveys to the children of Adam and Eve two important bits of information: 

1) the LOCATION at which Jesus deposited his most apocalyptic revelation about God and 

2) its IMPORTANCE
 
Jesus deposited his body and blood into the bread and wine of the Most Holy Eucharist (Mark 14:22-25). His decision to use body, blood, bread and wine was not random, accidental, arbitrary or capricious. Jesus deliberately picked the four elements of the most Holy Eucharist to pinpoint the LOCATION at which Jesus deposited his most apocalyptic revelation about God and to emphasize its IMPORTANCE.

The BODY AND BLOOD of the most Holy Eucharist point us to the LOCATION at which Jesus deposited his most apocalyptic revelation about God. The connection between his body and his blood is his bloody wounds. At and about his bloody wounds, the most apocalyptic revelation about God is located. 

The BREAD AND WINE of the most Holy Eucharist point us to the IMPORTANCE of the most apocalyptic revelation about God. Without consuming food and drink, we die of hunger and thirst. Without consuming the meaning of his bloody wounds, death is just as certain.

 

Religion

We call the search for the answer to the question, 'Who is God?’, religion.

Jesus supplied the premise; we draw the conclusions. The Church safeguards the premise and facilitates our jump from premise to conclusion. Religion is an evidence based, logical endeavor. The Church goes off the rails when it tries to make the jump from premise to conclusion for us. Each of us must make the leap of faith for ourselves. There is no other way.

Are you trying to help us to discover the answer to the question, 'Who is God?’? Or are you trying to regulate our behavior? These are two separate and distinct endeavors.

If you are not trying to defeat Enemy #1, you are not doing religion. The #1 enemy of humanity is ignorance of God. Our God is a stranger to us and nobody follows a stranger  (John 10:5) (Psalm 69:8) (Exodus 2:22). Enemy #1 is a failure of truth - the truth about God. The Son of God invaded the Valley of Tears riding a cross to publish a high fidelity representation of the reality of God. He published it in a demonstration of divinity. The demonstration of divinity unfolded in the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through the bloody wounds of the Son of God and ended at the Resurrection. It is available to us. Yet, the Church is doing other, lesser things rather than highlighting the location of the answer to the question, 'Who is God?’. The Church prefers to engage in regulation at the expense of revelation. Regulation has knocked revelation out of the conversation. Religion, as practiced by the Church today, is all about trying to regulate the behavior of the children of Adam and Eve. It has nothing to do with helping the children of Adam and Eve to discover the location of the answer to the question, 'Who is God?’. A gap exists in our knowledge of God. To what location do we go to get the raw material to fill the gap in our knowledge of God? The Church has stopped pinpointing the location. In Christianity today, God has become an afterthought - God has been shoved out of the limelight and into the dark shadows of the periphery.

 

The Aim of Christianity

Jesus invaded the Valley of Tears riding on a cross to initiate the process of rebuilding human beings. He would rebuild us from the ground up. He would remake us. He brought us an upgrade (Ezekiel 36:26). He was the upgrade. .Jesus was the first rebuilt human being. He did not change the archetype of the human being. The archetype was not defective. He would help us reach our full potential within the existing archetype. He would show us how to ascend from the level of the most hideous and miserable of loveless beast to the level of God - the level occupied by creatures whose hearts are filled to the brim with love. A human being reaches his full potential when his heart is filled to the brim with love. How? The path to the heart passes through the head. The first step in the process is to fill our heads to the brim with the knowledge that God loves us (Isaiah 11:9). To verify the fact that God loves us, the Son of God let us torture and kill him. The expectation was that the evil we did to him would turn God from a friend into a foe. As we tortured him, his love for us would fade and when we killed him, his love for us would die. However, he defied expectation. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. He published God’s love for us at and about the platform of the Cross to persuade us to embrace the fact that God loves us. He wanted to eliminate our doubts (Matthew 14:31). He wants the degree of confidence by which we grip the fact that God loves us to soar to the heavens. Why? The law of symmetry holds that love begets love (John 4: 13-14) (John 10:10)"We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4: 19). The knowledge that God loves us fills our hearts to the brim with love.

 

The New Dark Age

We have entered a period of disenlightenment. We occupy a new DARK AGE. Christians, however, have only themselves to blame. Christianity is dying not because of hostile external forces. Christianity is dying because Christians are killing Christianity (Pogo). We devote too much of our time, energy and resources to regulation and too little to revelation. We play the role of king trying to rule the behavior of the children of Adam at the expense of playing the role of witness who testifies to them about God. Meanwhile, a gap exists in our knowledge of God. We no longer go to the location into which Jesus deposited the revelation to get the raw material to fill the gap in our knowledge of God. We are too busy being king. As a result, we have let God become a stranger to us and nobody follows a stranger (John 10:5) (Psalm 69:8) (Exodus 2:22). We have become lightweights in our understanding of God. Our understanding of God has become superficial. We have stripped God of his content (1 Corinthians 1:17). God has become a one-dimensional cartoon character instead of a three-dimensional reality - a blurry silhouette of his true self. The depth of our understanding of God extends to the surface of the word, 'God', but goes no deeper. The word, 'God', is no longer anchored to any meaning. God has been turned into the mysterious, unintelligible ‘real presence’ but nothing more. God, however, is not a meaningless cipher - devoid of content. When the Son of God invaded the Valley of Tears riding on a cross, he revealed the nature of God to us - he supplied us with content. There is more to God than his mere "real presence" - much more. Christians, however, have elbowed the details about God out of the conversation, pushed the details into the periphery and replaced the details with the lesser, inferior aspects of Christianity. Our resources are limited - finite. We can spend them either on regulation or revelation. We can play the role of king . In short, we can look up at God or down at our behavior. We cannot do both at the same time. Our heads don’t work that way. So what do we do first? What is the priority? The Church is failing because it devotes too much of its resources to regulation and too little to revelation. Therefore,  more revelation; less regulation. More Mary; less Martha. More pizzazz; less nitty gritty. No change in doctrine; just a change in emphasis - a tweak, nothing more. CAN WE BRING GOD BACK INTO THE CONVERSATION? Can we devote at least 50% of the conversation to God? Is 50% too much to ask?

 

The Invasion of the Kingdom of God into the Valley of Tears

Riding a cross, Jesus invaded the Valley of Tears. His position impaled on a cross as a live worm is impaled on a sharp hook was a position of utter and abject weakness. God, the head of the spear - the vanguard of the invasion - started the invasion by projecting impotence not omnipotence (Matthew 27:42). It was not a very formidable way to start an invasion. In fact, it was an absurd, comical caricature of an invasion and of our omnipotent God (1 Corinthians 1:18). Riding a tank or some other powerful war machine is a more appropriate way for an invasion to commence. Don Quixote’s horse, Rocinante, would have ridiculed the notion of the Son of God riding a cross into the Valley of Tears as the height of folly (Quixote’s Horse). A cross would take Jesus nowhere. Yet, it did. By riding a cross into the Valley of Tears (Matthew 21:7-9), Jesus established an outpost of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God gained a foothold in the Valley of Tears (Hail Holy Queen). Thence, it is slowly and steadily encroaching into the Valley of Tears inch by inch one Christian at a time. The invasion was a one-man show - a solo performance. He did not invade the Valley of Tears at the head of an army (Matthew 26:53). He invaded to recruit an army. Moreover, he invaded the Valley of Tears unarmed - with no weapons but love. What human general would invade the Valley of Tears as Jesus did - alone - riding a cross - without an army - with no weapons but love (1 Corinthians 1:25)? Furthermore, the invasion did not come cheaply. It required the payment of an exorbitant cost. Yet, Jesus financed the entire cost of the invasion himself out of his own pocket. He made the payment not from his unlimited divine resources but from his limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else (John 15:13). Now, more than two thousand (2000) years into the invasion, let us take stock. Let us assess the results. Is the invasion a failure or is it a success?

Jesus was willing to pay the cost out of his own pockets of doing good and absorbing evil. His willingness was a byproduct of his love for us. Doing good and absorbing evil are the weapons of the Kingdom of God’s invasion into the Valley of Tears. They are the means of conquest.

 

A Sewage System for Evil

Jesus invaded the Valley of Tears riding a cross to establish a sewage system for the proper disposal of evil. The sewage of evil is eliminated from the ecosystem in an environmentally friendly manner when we absorb it - when we do not let evil pass through and when we do not let evil pass back. The propagation of evil stops with us. A willingness to work in the sewer system of evil arises only when our hearts are filled to the brim with love.

 

The Location of the Answer to the question, 'Who is God?’

A gap exists in our knowledge of God. To what location do we go to get the raw material to fill the gap in our knowledge of God? Can you pinpoint the location? Please be specific.

The answer to the question, 'Who is God?', is the treasure of Christianity. At what location is the answer to the question, 'Who is God?', found? The location of an answer is different than the answer itself. A location is the equivalent of the premise for a conclusion.

What is the point and place of beginning? At what location does evangelization start? Figuring out the location most suitable to grow our understanding of God is the hardest part of evangelization. Once figured out, however, an understanding of God is easy to cultivate. Therefore, get the soil right first. First pinpoint the point and place of beginning.

Can you pinpoint the location where the the answer to the question, 'Who is God?', is buried (Matthew 13:44)?

To pinpoint for us the precise location of the treasure of Christianity - of the answer to the question, 'Who is God?' - God erected a landmark. God planted the Cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:17) to serve as the flag that rallies Christians to the Son of God. Rally 'round the Cross!

What is more helpful for our salvation?

  1. being told where to look for the answer to the question, 'Who is God?'' so we can find the answer for ourselves or

  2. being told what was found when someone else looked for the answer to save us the trouble of looking for ourselves?

The scientific method holds that by exploring the same location for ourselves, we ought to make the same discoveries. In other words, for discoveries to be valid, they must be reproducible.. The same premise must give rise to the same conclusion over and over again. Religion, when done properly, is an evidence based scientific endeavor.

On what substrate of reality did Jesus anchor his answer to the question, ‘Who is God?‘

Listen first to the answer to the question, 'Who is God?' that Jesus gave before you listen to what others have said about him elsewhere. Then compare his answer to their answers.

The testimony of a witness without knowledge is worthless (Job 38:2). Only a witness with knowledge is valuable. Jesus is the witness (John 18:37) with knowledge (John 8:54-58). His knowledge is unique (John 8:12-14). He is the only witness to heavenly things (John 3: 11-13). Only he is in a position to testify to the truth about God (John 18:37-38).  Therefore, do not give me your answer to the question, "Who is God?'. You do not have the knowledge. You are not in a position to testify about God. Without knowledge, any testimony from you about God would be worthless. Give me Jesus's answer. The Son of God himself answered the question, 'Who is God?'. Our understanding of God is rooted in his answer to the question, 'Who is God?'. 

EVANGELIZATION IS THE SLOW, METHODICAL PROCESS OF DISCOVERING THE FOUNDATION ON WHICH WE CAN REST OUR FAITH IN GOD.

 

The Language of God is Reality

The language of God is reality. God is the artist who paints the masterpiece of reality on the canvas of our rationality in the pigments of truth. The serpent, on the other hand, sprays graffiti over the canvas, defaces the masterpiece and calls his vandalism art. The serpent expresses himself in words. God expresses himself in reality. The meaning of words is fickle. The meaning of reality is not. 

Take notice that Jesus did not answer the question, ‘Who is God?‘ in words. God is quite the chatterbox. Indeed, He does not shut up. However, he does not typically talk to us in words. If you expect words from God, you will be disappointed. It is ironic but the Word of God (John 1:1) wasn't an author. He was a carpenter (Mark 6:3). The carpenter built the answer to the question, 'Who is God?', into the framework of the Cross. [Rally 'round the Cross.] 

 

God and the Serpent are Adversaries in the Courtroom of our Rationality

We are the jury. The serpent is presenting his evidence. So is God. The evidence conflicts. It is up to us to reach a verdict. The battleground on which God and the serpent are fighting is the battleground of our rationality. The weapon God uses is the truth. The weapon the serpent uses is falsehood John 8:44. It is fact versus fiction. God presents the facts. The serpent presents the fictions. We are the jury who must distinguish fact versus fiction. The purpose of this exercise is so we can learn the truth for ourselves in the clash of conflicting evidence. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" John 8:32.

 

Our Rationality and The Truth

Among his many gifts, God endowed us with the gift of rationality. Rationality steers the ship.

The truth is the fuel of our rationality. When fueled by the the truth, our rationality steers us in the right direction. When the fuel of truth is fouled by illusion, our rationality leads us astray (John 8:44).

Rational creatures behave in a predictable manner. We follow a pattern. It is not a complicated pattern. Sweetness attracts us. Honey draws the bees back home to the hive. Sourness repels us. We flee from it. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise. Hence, the truth can drive us. 

The sour truth pushes us to its exit. The sweet truth pulls us to its entrance. The sour truth and the sweet truth are two engines that generate a current that carries us. We tend not to swim against the current of salvation. 

Our enemies, however, throw monkey wrenches into the gears of our rationality. They sabotage it. Our enemies foul the fuel of truth with illusion. Illusion is not reliable. Illusion is a fog that distorts our perception of reality. The fog of illusion disorients us. 

To save us, God does not appeal to our faculty of obedience. Our faculty of obedience is broken. We have known that our faculty of obedience is broken since the age of Adam and Eve. To save us, God appeals to our faculty of rationality. Rational creatures flee the sourness of godlessness and seek the sweetness of paradise. It is contrary to their self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise. God wields the sledgehammer of truth to show rational creatures the sourness of godlessness and the sweetness of paradise. The sledgehammer of truth shatters the illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness and the illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise. It shatters the illusions as the blow of the hammer shatters glass.

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).

Like the pork in a Chinese restaurant, the truth comes in two flavors: 1) sweet and 2) sour.

God applies the truth to our rationality to persuade us - both the sour truth and the sweet truth.

The sweet truth erupted from the demonstration of divinity that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through the bloody wounds of the Son of God, and ended at the Resurrection to illuminate the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany.

The sour truth is the marinade in which we stew for a lifetime in the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine.

It is absurd to think that someone has a monopoly over the truth. Nobody owns the truth. The truth is free for the taking. It is open source. The truth is. I am who am.

All of our complaints about God’s plan to rescue us arise from the application of the sour truth to our rationality. Indeed, the application of the sour truth to our rationality is harsh but effective medicine. Didn’t somebody once say, Spare the rod and spoil the children (Proverbs 13:24) (Hebrews 12:5-11)?

 

The Engines that Generate the Current of Salvation

The potential difference between the sweetness of paradise and the sourness of godlessness is the engine that creates the current of salvation. The current of salvation is a mighty river that flows through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death and into the kingdom of God, the promised land, the land of milk and honey. The mighty river of truth sweeps us off our feet and carries us to our salvation. Only the recalcitrant few try to swim against it.

The sour truth pushes us to the exit of godlessness. The sweet truth pulls us to the entrance of paradise. Both - the sweet truth and the sour truth - are engines that generate the current of salvation. Each drives our progress along the escape route through the Valley of Tears from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his Holy Family in the promised land. The two engines are the belt and suspenders that hold up the pants of salvation. They provide a state of double redundancy. Only one is necessary. It is quite rational to pray, therefore, for more sweet truth and less sour truth.

Standing like a colossus in the Red Sea of Death - at the nexus between the exit of godlessness and the entrance of paradise - is Jesus. Through his bloody wounds the great leap is made from time to eternity (Our Lady of Good Success). He is the way (John 14:6). "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

 

The Sledgehammer of Truth

The serpent casts two illusions. He casts an illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness and an illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise. Therefore, use the truth to shatter the illusions. All truth? No. Much is true. However, much that is true is irrelevant. The truth that matters is the subset of truth that shatters the illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness and the illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise. THE SLEDGEHAMMER OF TRUTH SHATTERS THE TWO ILLUSIONS AS THE BLOW OF A HAMMER SHATTERS GLASS. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).

 

The Energy that Powers the Escape is the Truth 

The truth drives the progress of the new exodus along the escape route. Yet, the Church has stopped preaching the truth. It thinks it still does but it does not. As a result, the escape is sputtering and stalling. Fewer and fewer are going to Mass. None are going to Confession. Marriages are falling apart. Mothers are murdering their babies. The priesthood is going extinct (Pope Francis 1/28/2017). The trend is downward and accelerating. The only sacrament holding its own is the sacrament of extreme unction and this is so only because the dying have little choice.The thermometer that gauges the temperature of the body of Christ is the practice of Christianity. By this measure, the patient is dying - a few breaths away from death. Instead of preaching the truth, the Church preaches its pathological fascination with morality a/k/a sin. Indeed, morality is important. However, morality is not the truth that drives the new exodus along the escape route. Morality is the effect of becoming a Christian not its cause. Morality is the crown of glory that the children of Adam and Eve wear after they become Christian. The great mistake of the Church is that it expects us to behave like a Christian behaves before we have become a Christian. The Church has gone astray because it tries to make us moral instead of trying to make us Christian. These are two separate and distinct processes. Yet, the Church cannot make the distinction. Making us Christian is the foundation. Making us moral is the roof. The foundation needs to be built before the roof. There is no other way to proceed. The Church needs to get its act together. It needs to once again preach the truth, both the sweet truth and the sour truth. It needs to once again fuel the escape of the new exodus with the truth.

 

The Serpent does not want us to Escape from the Valley of Tears 

The serpent does not want us to escape from the Valley of Tears. He wants our subjugation in the Valley of Tears not our liberation from it. So he sabotages the engines of truth that generate the current of salvation. He throws a monkey wrench into them. How? The serpent masks the truth with illusions. The serpent conjured up two illusions that obfuscate the truth from us: 

1) The serpent sugarcoated the sourness of godlessness with false testimony that we would become gods without God in the Valley of Tears Genesis 3:5. God testified that we would die Genesis 3:3

2) The Serpent broadcasts virulent anti-god propaganda from the crosses that besiege us as we pass through the Valley of Tears to hide the sweetness of paradise from us. 

While camouflaged by illusions, the engines of truth lose their power to push and pull the new exodus along the escape route through the Valley of Tears from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his Holy Family in the promised land. The illusions stop our progress to the promised land dead in its tracks.

 

A Glimpse into the Ultimate Reality

God supplied the premise; we draw the conclusions.  What premise did God supply? What conclusions do we draw from it? Come now, and let us reason together (Isaiah 1:18)

God supplied a demonstration - not a declaration - of divinity in the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through the bloody wounds of the Son of God and ended at the Resurrection. It was the most apocalyptic demonstration of divinity in the history of humanity - without peer. God unveiled himself to us. The veil of the temple was was rent in twain from the top to the bottom and Jesus stepped through the rent in the veil to introduce God to us (Matthew 27:51).  Moreover, Jesus didn’t just tell us about God in the saying of words. Jesus showed us God in a spectacular, unprecedented performance of God. We saw God done not just God said. In the sequence of events, Jesus deposited a high fidelity representation of the reality of God. The sequence of events is the location where the curious find Jesus’s answer to the question, ‘Who is God?‘.

Jesus encoded a high fidelity representation of the reality of God onto a golden thread of truth and wove it into the very fabric of reality for us to decode. It is the DNA of Christianity. In the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through the bloody wounds of the Son of God and ended at the Resurrection, Jesus deposited, as one would deposit into a bank, a demonstration of divinity. Decoding the revelation that Jesus left behind for us on the DNA of Christianity transforms us into building blocks of love. A building block of love is multi functional, playing both defense and offense.. A building block of love detoxifies the universe. It absorbs evil. Evil neither passes through nor passes back. Moreover, it does good. It fills the universe with goodness. When we fill our hearts to the brim with love, we take our place next to Jesus in the great firewall of Christianity. The great firewall of Christianity is the palisade of love that encircles the kingdom of God. It is the wall of the willing - of people who are willing to pay the cost out of their own pockets of absorbing evil and doing good. In accordance with the law of symmetry, evil begets evil. Evil propagates itself, like a wave, from evildoer to victim. The great firewall of Christianity stops evil from propagating itself from evildoer to victim. It repeals the law of symmetry. It stops the spread of the disease dead in its tracks. It contains the contagion.

The high fidelity representation of the reality of God that Jesus wrote onto the golden thread of truth is the fuel of our rationality. By its light, we steer the ship.

To catch a glimpse of Heaven from here on Earth, follow the narrative of salvation as it proceeds from the Crucifixion on the near side of his bloody wounds, through them, to the Resurrection on the far side of his bloody wounds. Don't just look at his bloody wounds; look through them. When we look through his bloody wounds as we would look through a telescope, we catch a glimpse of heaven from here on earth.

 

Observers of the Demonstration of Divinity

Have you observed the demonstration of divinity? Have you contemplated it?

Have you tried to translate the demonstration of divinity into words?

What truths about God do you distill from the demonstration of divinity?

Jesus performed other demonstrations of divinity but none like the demonstration of divinity that took place in the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through the bloody wounds of the Son of God and ended at the Resurrection

 

Asymmetry versus Symmetry

Evil begets evil. Love begets love. The law of symmetry holds that the apple does not fall far from its tree. Evil and love obey the law of symmetry. The cause and effect are symmetrical. The innovation of Jesus into the Valley of Tears was the repeal of the law of symmetry with respect to evil. He absorb the evil we did to him. Evil did not pass through and evil did not pass back. The evil we did to him did not transform him into the miserable and hideous of loveless beast. Despite the evil we did to him, his heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us.

Asymmetry is the distinguishing mark of the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Our question was sharp. We shouted it at him. His answer was gentle. He whispered it back to us. Our question was the night. His answer was the day. Thankfully, he did not respond to our sharp question in kind (Isaiah 55:8-9). He changed the tone of the conversation (1 Kings 19:11-13).

The reaction of Jesus to the evil we did to him was asymmetrical - radically asymmetrical (Isaiah 55:8-9). The radical asymmetry of his reaction to the evil we did to him is the treasure of Christianity. In his asymmetrical reaction, Jesus revealed the identity of God to us. Jesus did not just declare the identity of God to us in ambiguous words. Jesus demonstrated the identity of God to us in unambiguous deeds. The author of reality showed himself to us in reality itself not just in words that represent reality.

 

Our Problem & God’s Solution

God is unwilling to turn paradise into a prison, himself into our warden and us into his prisoners to keep us in paradise. A cage is still a cage no matter how gilded. God does not want to transform us into his pets; he wants us to transform ourselves into his peers - into sons and daughters of God. He wants us to be like him - with hearts filled to the brim with love.

We pass through the gates of paradise as we fill our hearts to the brim with love. Love is the key that unlocks the gates of paradise.

"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3). The most Sacred Heart of Jesus overflows with love. His cup runneth over like the dewfall (Luke 22:20) (Psalm 23:5) . From his heart, our hearts receive a transfusion of love. The transfusion of love is invigorating. It vivifies us. It brings the dead to life. Jesus inflates our deflated hearts with love. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. “ (Ezekiel 36:26) . Without hearts filled to the brim with love, we are dead - in dire need of reanimation. The dead are born again when they inflate their deflated hearts with love. "I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10) .

Our perception of what makes our predicament in the Valley of Tears dire. Many and merciless are the crosses that besiege us as we pass through the Valley of Tears across the Red Sea of death, and into the promised land. Their sharp teeth chew us up into bits and pieces. Mastication, in our view, is the problem. We want God to eradicate our crosses or to extricate us from the Valley of Tears. We want God to rescue us now - immediately. We brook no delay. Stop the mastication now.

God's perception of what makes our predicament in the Valley of Tears dire. The problem, in the view of God, is not our circumstances but our empty hearts - hearts empty of love. Deflation, in God's view, is the problem. A deflated heart, not mastication by our crosses, is the source of our woe. A flat heart, like a flat tire, makes the ride through the Valley of Tears rough. Love is the "grease" that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death and into the Kingdom of God. We are living our lives in the Valley of Tears on the level of the most hideous and miserable of loveless beast. God wants us to jump up - to ascend - to his level. God wants to inflate our hearts with love. Love is the helium of the heart. Because love has the property of buoyancy, a heart filled to the brim with love serves as a flotation device. It is a hot air balloon that lifts us up and out of the hostile truth of the Valley of Tears. Love is the life preserver that keeps us afloat in the rough waters of our baptism in the Valley of Tears (Matthew 14:27-31). "Fill us at daybreak with your mercy, that all our days we may sing for joy" (Psalm 90:14). God wants us to fill our empty hearts with love (Luke 17:20-21) [Location of the Kingdom] (Matthew 22:36-40) [Greatest Commandment] (1 John 4) [God is love]. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35). "What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God." (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756).

Mastication by the teeth of our crosses is our perception of the problem. Mastication makes a life lived in the Valley of Tears dire. Deflation of our hearts is God’s perception of our problem. Hearts empty of love make a life lived in the Valley of Tears dire. God is trying to solve our problem as he perceives it.

 

The Delay

God inserted a delay between the gift of life and the gift of paradise. We call the delay the Valley of Tears. The Valley of Tears is the vessel in which we are baptized in evil. Many and merciless are the crosses that besiege us as we pass through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of death, and into the promised land. God does not rescue us from the Valley of Tears immediately. Why? Figuring out the reason why God wants us to marinate like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine unlocks the purpose of life.

Did God make a mistake? And did he fix it? God delivered the gift of life and the gift of paradise simultaneously to Lucifer, to the gaggle of angels who follow Lucifer, to Eve, to Adam and to the prodigal son. They received both gifts without any delay inserted between them. Yet, they all fumbled the ball. They let the gift of paradise slip through their fingers. With regard to the children of Adam and Eve, God changed his gift-giving policy. God delivers the gift of life and the gift of paradise to the children of Adam and Eve sequentially. Moreover, God inserted a delay between the gift of life and the gift of paradise. We call the delay the Valley of Tears. We stew in the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine for a lifetime. Why? Why the change in God's gift-giving policy? Why isn't rescue immediate? Why does God let us stew in the sour truth of the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine? What the f%#k is going on?



Harsh but Effective Medicine

What blessings accrue to us from stewing in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of brine?

Letting us stew in the toxicity of the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of brine is harsh but effective medicine. Its effectiveness is the reason that God prescribes it. When the gift of paradise is delivered to us, we will keep it. We will not fumble the ball. The prodigal son will never go back to the pig sty (Luke 15:11-32). Neither will we.

Love is the sugar that helps the medicine go down (Mary Poppins).

God invented the Valley of Tears and lets us stew in it like pickles in a barrel of brine to defang the serpent - to drain the serpent's illusion of its power to deceive. It unmasks the lie and the liar (John 8:44). It drives the serpent's credibility down to hell and God's credibility up to the heavens. In the Valley of Tears , we learn for ourselves whose testimony was true and whose was false.

God invented the Valley of Tears and lets us stew in it like pickles in a barrel of brine to reduce the likelihood that we will fumble the gift of paradise when God delivers the gift of paradise to us. The hostile reality of a life without God in the Valley of Tears shatters the illusion that sugarcoats the Valley of Tears. The prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty (Luke 15:11-32). Neither are we. Our experience in the pig sty makes us wiser in our decision making.

By letting us put our fingers in the flame, we learn for ourselves that the fire is hot. The heat of the fire teaches us not to put our fingers back into the flames. Personal experience with the truth itself is the most powerful means of persuasion. God does not use half measures. God uses the most powerful means of persuasion.

The pedagogy of the Valley of Tears is the harsh but effective medicine. The medicine, however, is not without its pernicious side effects. The pedagogy of the Cross addresses the pernicious side effects of the medicine.

A pernicious side effect of the medicine is that we become vulnerable to the taunts of the tongues of our crosses that point to our mastication in the teeth of our crosses as powerful evidence that God does not exist or does not love us.





Payment of the Ransom

who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.
— 1 Timothy 2:6



Love demands the payment of a ransom.

The Love Note was sent from God in heaven to us on earth to pay the ransom that the serpent demanded to purchase our freedom from the yoke of Pharaoh. The Love Note was the ransom.

God made an Investment in Humanity. Jesus paid the exorbitant price of ransoming us from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8) (Matthew 7:6) - while we were still unworthy of his love - while we still did not deserve it. The payment was not an expense but an investment (Matthew 25:14-30) (Matthew 13:8). He invested not in our status as sinners but in our potential to become saints. Our potential to become saints is hidden under our status as sinners. He looked beyond our status as sinners and saw the upside of his investment. One of his gifts to us is the capacity to love. We can fill our hearts to the brim with love. The greater the love in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God (Genesis 1:26). Our God, who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands, put himself into the hands of the mud to demonstrate to the mud its potential to become sons and daughters of God. How do we become sons and daughters of God? By filling our hearts to the brim with love. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35).



Reanimating the Dead

Without love in our hearts, we are dead corpses - zombies - the walking dead - men without a core - hollow men (Matthew 23:27) (Isaiah 26:19) (Matthew 24:28) .

What is God's top priority? Which is more important? 1) rescuing dead corpses from being chewed up into bits and pieces by the teeth of our crosses or 2) bringing dead corpses to life by inflating their deflated hearts with love? Which do you recommend that God do first?

"… Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3). The most Sacred Heart of Jesus overflows with love. His cup runneth over like the dewfall (Luke 22:20) (Psalm 23:5). From his heart, our hearts receive a transfusion of love. The transfusion of love is invigorating. It vivifies us. It brings the dead to life. Jesus inflates our deflated hearts with love (Ezekiel 36:26). Without hearts filled to the brim with love, we are dead - in dire need of reanimation. The dead are born again when they inflate their deflated hearts with love. "I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).

Who cares that the teeth of our crosses are masticating on our dead corpses (Luke 9:60) as we pass through the Valley of Tears? Isn't it more important - the top priority - for God to bring our dead corpses to life by inflating our deflated hearts with love (Ephesians 2:4-5)?

 

Saints

Saints are the children of Adam and Eve who have fallen in love with God. The harder the fall, the greater the saint.

The fully-fledged Christian is a myth. Unlike coffee, there is no such thing as an instant Christian. It takes time to make a Christian. We do not become Christian overnight. A human being develops from a baby in the womb through other stages of life including infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age. A similar framework of development takes place in the thinking of a Christian. A Christian whose thinking is not quite up to speed with the thinking of the self-styled orthodox Christian is still a Christian for the same reason that a baby in the womb is still a human being.

 

Martyrs

A martyr is a saint whose firewall built from bricks of love has been tested to the extreme.

 

Proxies for God

How to Draw Nigh to God? "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you" (James 4:8). How do we draw nigh to God? By loving our neighbor (Matthew 25:35-40). Our neighbors are proxies for God (1 John 4:20). To draw nigh to God expand the scope of your love and increase the size of your payment of the cost of love. Are you drawing nigh to God?

Our neighbors are proxies for God. . . . and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, . . . . . . help us as we have helped our neighbors . . . Is it reasonable to expect God to forgive you, if you don't forgive your neighbor? Likewise, is it reasonable to expect God to help you, if you don't help your neighbor? By the same token, don't let God off the hook. If you forgive and help your neighbor, expect God to forgive and help you. What is fair is fair. God doesn't welsh on a bargain.

 

An Overview of the Apocalypse

We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive revealed to us the power of Jesus. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than power. Our conception of divinity as power is incomplete - flawed. Divinity is also love. God is still head over heels in love with us despite the evil we did to him.

 

The Purpose of the Visit of the Son of God

The Son of God paid us a visit at and about the City of Jerusalem in a region of our planet known as the Middle East more than two thousand years ago.

Wouldn't a merciful God mitigate the direness of our predicament in the Valley of Tears? Wouldn't a merciful God show us the best way to pass through the hostile truth of the Valley of Tears?

One of the purposes of his visit was to mitigate the direness of our predicament in the Valley of Tears.

One of the purposes of his visit was to inflate our deflated hearts with love - to vivify the dead. Without love in our hearts, we are dead.

One of the purposes of the Son of God's visit was to answer the question, 'Who is God?,' for us. Jesus paid us a visit to reveal God to us. How did he make the revelation?

Jesus did not just tell us about God. Jesus showed us God. He put on a demonstration of God. He introduced God to us not through the words of a book but in a play - in a performance. We saw God in action - God in operation. He showed us God done not just God said.

The Son of God did not pay us a visit to make our journey through the Valley of Tears harder. He paid us a visit to make our journey easier. He did not pay us a visit to put us on the hook but to let us off the hook. He came to mitigate, not to aggravate, our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears.

The Treasure of Christianity

Every Christian ought to know the answers to three questions: 1) What is the treasure of Christianity? 2) What is the treasure chest of Christianity? 3) What was the key that unlocked the treasure chest? If you do not possess the answers to these questions, your understanding of Christianity is defective.

What is the treasure of Christianity and where is it buried (Matthew 13:44)? What is the treasure chest that holds the treasure and what is the key that unlocks it?

The treasure of Christianity enriches our understanding of God. Let us grab our picks and shovels, dig up the treasure, and make ourselves rich!

Christianity is a treasure map for treasure hunters engaged in a treasure hunt. On the treasure map, a cross marks the spot of the treasure (Matthew 13:44). Jesus is not the treasure; he is the treasure chest. The answer to the question, 'Who is God?', is the treasure. The key that unlocked the treasure chest of Christianity was the violent collision between Jesus and the evil we did to him.

What treasure was deposited into the treasure chest? The knowledge that God is head over heels in love with us is the treasure that was deposited into the treasure chest.

The knowledge (Isaiah 11:9) that God loves us is the treasure of Christianity. Jesus was the treasure chest. Into him was deposited the knowledge that God loves us so it could be transported from heaven to earth for distribution to the children of Adam and Eve. "What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God." (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756)

The knowledge of God, it was decided, would be transported from heaven to earth and into the hands of the children of Adam and Eve (John 3:11-13) (John 14:5-9). The knowledge of God is the treasure of Christianity. Exposing the children of Adam and Eve to the knowledge of God would neutralize the serpent's vicious anti-god propaganda. Arising from this decision was the question, ‘what package would be appropriate to hold and carry the knowledge of God during its journey?’. Ordinarily, to hold and carry knowledge, knowledge is put into a book or into some other traditional repository of knowledge. However, not in this case. The knowledge of God was so valuable that no ordinary, conventional, no-frills, humdrum repository would have been suitable. A package equal in dignity to its cargo was desired. Indeed, in this case, a treasure chest was needed because the knowledge of God is the most precious of treasures. Therefore, into an extraordinary treasure chest, the knowledge of God was poured. The treasure chest was unique. It lived and breathed and had its own exalted being. Into Jesus, the knowledge of God was poured. During His Visit to us, the Son of God shared the treasure with us. The treasure enriches our understanding of God. With generosity, He made us rich.

The God who fashioned us out of the dust with his hands put himself into the hands of the dust to leaven the dust with the yeast of divinity. The yeast of divinity is love.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
— Isaiah 11:9

Tracing the Route that the Treasure of Christianity Takes from God to Us

The treasure of Christianity was transported from God in heaven to us here on earth in a multi-legged journey. We can trace its route. First the treasure of Christianity was deposited into Jesus. From Jesus, the treasure of Christianity was transferred to a "bank". The "bank" is the demonstration of divinity that took place in the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through the bloody wounds of the Son of God and ended at the Resurrection. Thence, into the most Holy Eucharist. Thence, into us. Thence, into our neighbors

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
— Habakkuk 2:14

The Love Note

God expressed his love for us by sending us a love note. Jesus was God's love note. He was the expression of God’s love for us

What genre of literature is the Word of God (John 1:1)? The Word of God is a love note - a love note from God to us

To answer the question, ‘Who is God?’, God sent us a love note.

God composed a LOVE NOTE to us in the Incarnation, delivered it to us in the form of a baby at Bethlehem, verified its genuineness for us in the violent collision between Jesus, our Savior, and the evil we did to him at and about Calvary, and celebrates its triumph over the serpent who waged war against it whenever a priest says a Mass. THE LOVE NOTE IS THE FOUNDATION OF CHRISTIANITY. The edifice of Christianity is built upon the LOVE NOTE

The violent collision between Jesus and the evil we did to him was bigger than the Big Bang (Big Bang) and larger than CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It was the key that unlocked the treasure. From the violent collision, truth erupted whose incandescence illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany (John 1:5) (Psalm 43:3) The incandescent truths verified the genuineness of the love note. They guaranteed its authenticity.

We get a sense of the size of his love for sinners by the size of the price he paid out of his own pocket to publish the proof of his love for us. The price was exorbitant. He paid the exorbitant price not from his unlimited divine resources. He paid the exorbitant price from his limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else (John 15:13). Some say that the Son of God overpaid - that he was ripped off. We were not worth the payment. He, on the other hand, was willing to pay the price. He thought that we were worth it. Rejoice and be glad! We are worth much to our God! He would not have paid an exorbitant price if we were not worth it.

We get a sense of the duration of his love for sinners from its indestructibility. His love for us ought to have faded as we tortured him and ought to have died when we killed him. But it did not. It survived. Its survival is the proof that the duration of his love for us is forever. His love for us is mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn (Isaiah 55:8-9) (Psalm 8:4-8). The bonfire of love that burns for us in his most sacred heart is unquenchable. Not even the evil we did to him can extinguish the flame or reduce its intensity by even the slightest degree.

We get a sense of the uniqueness of his love for sinners from the barren matrix in which is sprouted, blossomed and flourished. Nothing grows in the toxic soil of the Crucifixion. Nothing. It is a barren matrix. So when the flower of the Resurrection sprouted and grew, we beheld a miracle (Isaiah 11:1). We planted Jesus in the toxic soil of the Crucifixion, yet, the flower of the Resurrection emerged therefrom still alive and still in love with us. The flower of the Resurrection is remediating the toxicity of the soil. That he emerged from the dead still alive revealed to us the power of Jesus. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than power. It revealed to us that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is also love. Which is the greater miracle? His emerging from the dead still alive or his emerging from the dead still in love with us?

 

The “Bank”

Jesus dumped the knowledge that God loves us into a “bank” here on earth before he returned to heaven to make a place for us (John 14:1-6).

The demonstration of divinity that took place in the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through the bloody wounds of the Son of God and ended at the Resurrection is the “bank” into which Jesus transferred the knowledge that God loves us.

The sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through the bloody wounds of the Son of God and ended at the Resurrection is the golden thread of truth that Jesus wove into the fabric of reality.

One of the purposes of the Son of God's visit was to answer the question, 'Who is God?,' for us. Jesus paid us a visit to reveal God to us. He encoded the revelation onto a golden thread of truth and then wove it into the very fabric of reality for us to decode. The golden thread of truth holds the demonstration of divinity that took place in the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through the bloody wounds of the Son of God and ended at the Resurrection.

The demonstration of divinity that took place in sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through the bloody wounds of the Son of God, and ended at the Resurrection forms the basis of Jesus's greatest parable. It wasn't a story that he invented. He lived it. The substrate on which the explanation of God unfolded was this golden thread of truth that he himself wove into the fabric of reality by living it (Matthew 13:10-17).

Jesus built a holy mountain on the earth - a mountain of proof - upon whose summit we can see the panorama of God (Isaiah 2: 2) (Micah 4: 1-2). Its location is not a mystery. The precise location of the mountain has been pinpointed. The mountain is situated at these coordinates: it starts at and about the Crucifixion, proceeds through the bloody wounds of the Son of God and ends at the Resurrection. The view while perched on the mountain will take your breath away (Matthew 17: 1-3). Have you ever climbed God's holy mountain and taken in the view?




The DNA of Christianity

Jesus deposited a message - a revelation about God - onto a golden thread of truth and wove the golden thread of truth into the very fabric of reality for us to decode. It is the DNA of Christianity. The golden thread of truth is a series of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through the bloody wounds of the Son of God, and ended at the Resurrection. The revelation about God that Jesus deposited onto the golden thread of truth was put there for us to discover. It was put there not accidentally but intentionally. Moreover, God gave us the cryptological skills to decode it by endowing us with the gift of rationality. By applying our faculty of rationality to the golden thread of truth, we decipher the revelation about God. Many, including the Church, have explored the golden thread of truth and, during their exploration, have made discoveries about God. The scientific method holds that by exploring the golden thread of truth for ouselves, the children of Adam and Eve ought to make the same discoveries. In other words, for the discoveries to be valid, they must be replicable. The premise must give rise to the conclusion again and again. When the "jump" from premise to conclusion is logical and transparent, the argument becomes persuasive. In the case of the golden thread of truth, religion is an evidence based endeavor. God supplied the premise; we draw the conclusions. What conclusions do you draw from the premise? What truths about God do you distill from the golden thread of truth? Milk it, as you would milk a cow, for all of its meaning.

Asymmetry

Will your love survive the application of evil? Jesus’s did.

Our God is different than us (Isaiah 55:8-9). When evil is done to us, at the very least, it pisses us off. It antagonizes us. It earns the evildoers a place on our shit list. It provokes our instinct for justice. It triggers our reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution. But not so with God. Not so. Jesus refused to let the evil we did to him transmogrify him into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. Instead of releasing his grip on love, He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He maintained his resemblance to God. Because his most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us, Jesus was able to say "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34)

Jesus rejected the law of symmetry. He overruled it. He cast it aside. His answer to evil's question was different (Matthew 5:38-39) than our answer. When evil challenged Jesus to reveal his identity, Jesus declared that he was not like his interrogator. He declared that he is as different from evil as the day is different from the night (Isaiah 55:8-9). Jesus had the power to squash evil as easily as we squash a tiny bug. He could have answered evil in kind. Yet, he did not. He changed the tone of the conversation. To our sharp question, Jesus gave his gentle answer (1 Kings 19:11-13). Jesus brought a radical asymmetry to the symbiotic dance between question and answer. Radical asymmetry squeezes the ugliness from the dance. It stops the transmission of the disease. Radical asymmetry is the insanity of Christianity (Luke 6:32-36.) Jesus's answer to evil's question was the antithesis of evil. Thank God his thoughts are not our thoughts - his ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9.) 

His love for sinners ought to have faded as we tortured him and ought to have died when we killed him. But it did not. It survived.

The asymmetric answer that Jesus gave to the evil that we did to him is the gravamen of Christianity. Everything else is obiter dicta.

Jesus defeated evil not by stopping it from poking holes in his heart. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. The evil baptism into which we immersed him was horribly real. Jesus defeated evil in a different way. He turned the tables on evil. He answered the evil we did to him asymmetrically. The asymmetry of his answer to the evil we did to him was radical - antipodal. Jesus defeated evil by refusing to let his love for us spill through the holes we poked in his heart. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go.

The radical asymmetry of his answer to the evil we did to him tells us all we need to know about the God in whom Christians believe. The radical asymmetry of his answer was the byproduct of his love for us. Even though we tortured and killed him, our God is still head over heels in love with us. Because his most Sacred Heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us, Jesus was able to say "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). The evil that we did to him did not extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in his most Sacred Heart or reduce its intensity by even the slightest degree. The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even the evil we did to him could budge it. How awesome is the Christian God? Wow!

Asymmetry with respect to Evil is the Hallmark of God. Even though we did evil to him, God still wants to do good to us. Wow! We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us.

The insanity of Christianity is Jesus's answer to the evil we did to him. The evil that we did to him did not transform him from our friend into our foe. It did not reduce him from the level of God to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts. He did not pull his offer of paradise off the table. He did not cancel his plan to rescue us from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears. The evil that we did to him ought to have rendered us ineligible for his gifts. It ought to have disqualified us. But it did not. Hallelujah! God continues to love us nonetheless (Jeremiah 31:3).


Mitigation

The most powerful tool that we have in our arsenal to mitigate the hostility of the Valley of Tears is the technology of applying love to our crosses. The technology of applying love to our crosses is the atomic bomb of mitigation. It dilutes the bitterness of the Valley of Tears in the same way that sugar cubes dilute the bitterness of a cup of coffee. Jesus refused to permit the evil that we did to him to transmogrify him into the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts. He clung to love for us, held tight and refused to let go even though we tortured and killed him. Jesus hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from our crosses. When you hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung, love as Jesus loved. Hold tight and refuse to let go of love, our crosses’s invincible foe.

Jesus gave us the pedagogy of the Cross to mitigate the cruelty of the pedagogy of the Valley of Tears.

Life is but an infinitesimally thin slice of time compared to the thickness of eternity. Moreover, it gets thinner and thinner with the passage of time. The brevity of life is proof of the mercy of God. Only a misanthropic god would make us stew in the hostile truth of the Valley of Tears for more than a lifetime. A philanthropic God puts an upper limit on our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears.



The God with the Bloody Wounds

What did the Son of God preach to us through his bloody wounds?

Like Janus, our God with the Bloody Wounds bears two faces. We can stand at the Crucifixion to gaze at his bloody wounds or we can stand at the Resurrection to gaze at them. His bloody wounds project either of two faces depending on the perspective from which we gaze upon them. When we look at his bloody wounds from the perspective of the Crucifixion, they appear to be the outward and visible signs of the evil that we did to him. However, the appearance of his bloody wounds changes when our perspective changes. When we look at his bloody wounds from the perspective of the Resurrection, they appear to be the outward and visible signs that his love for us is immense in size, radical in scope and indestructible in duration.

Buckets of blood poured through the wounds that our evil opened in his body. On a cataract of blood his very life itself was carried out of his body (John 15:13). But, not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us followed his blood through his wounds and out of his body. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us.

What are the Credentials of Divinity?

What distinguishes our genuine God from the many counterfeit gods - the frauds - who try to deceive us? By his bloody wounds, we recognize our God . His bloody wounds are the memorials to sacrificial love. They remind us that his love for us survived the evil we did to him. His bloody wounds are the rainbow of the new covenant between our God and us . His bloody wounds are the credentials of divinity. A person who claims to be God or to stand in persona Christi is an impostor unless he can show you his credentials. Demand a demonstration from any claimant to divinity of his credentials . Expose the frauds. The trappings of the priesthood are not valid credentials. The clerical collar is not a valid credential. Ordination is not a valid credential. All of these things are just lipstick on a pig . The only valid credential is sacrificial love - love that survives the application of evil - love that does not fade as we torture him nor die when we kill him. The only way to distinguish the shepherd and the hireling is by sacrificial love . Nothing else. The shepherd lays down his life for his sheep . Remember that the serpent had no credentials. Jesus, on the other hand, flashed his credentials to us in his passion, death and resurrection. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go even though we tortured and killed him . Show the serpents without credentials to the door. Welcome only those who can show you their credentials.

Guardians of the reservoirs of love

Christians are guardians of the reservoirs of love. Reservoirs of love are vessels in which love accumulates. They are the sources from which Christians, and pseudo-Christians, irrigate the Valley of Tears with love so love can germinate, blossoms and flourish therein. Love begets love . "We love him, because he first loved us." . Reservoirs of love mitigate the direness of our predicament in the Valley of Tears. They are oases where we can sojourn as we make our escape with the new Exodus through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of death, and into the promised land. Their absence makes the Valley of Tears a hostile, inhospitable and arid desert. A flat heart, that is, a heart empty of love, makes the ride through the Valley of Tears rough. Love smooths the bumps in the road. Love is the essence of humanity. Love makes us human. Love elevates us above the level of the most hideous and miserable of loveless beast. Love deifies us. We are made in the image and likeness of God . He endowed us with the capacity to love. The greater the love that we hold in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God. Christians stand between the reservoirs of love and the enemies of humanity who wish to destroy them - who wish to poison the well. Christians oppose those who would drain the reservoirs of love. The greater the threat, the greater the opposition. It is important for us to always remember what Christianity is all about, what is being threatened, and what we are defending. We are at war. It is a war waged by the serpent against God. The stakes of the war are love. In the course of waging his war against God, the serpent armed us, his proxies, with lash, thorns, nails and spear for the purpose of draining his most Sacred Heart of his love for us. Our role in the war was to torture and kill the Son of God while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth. Surely, the serpent reasoned, this insult to the very person of the Son of God would extinguish God's love for us. But, the serpent failed. His failure was abject. The evil we did to Jesus did not extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in his most Sacred Heart or reduce its intensity by even the slightest degree. Jesus defeated evil not by stopping it from poking holes in his heart. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. The evil baptism into which we immersed him was horribly real. Jesus defeated evil in a different way. He turned the tables on evil. He answered the evil we did to him asymmetrically. The asymmetry of his answer was radical - antipodal. Jesus defeated evil by refusing to let his love for us spill through the holes we poked in his heart. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. One of our most potent weapon against the enemies of humanity is to unmask the enemy - to reveal that his attack is an attack on love. Answer the threat; use the weapon; unmask the attack.

How God Conveyed His Love for Us

'How do we tell them we love them?' the most Holy Trinity asked themselves. 'We pay them a visit. We let them torture and kill us. We suffer and die. We rise from the dead. And we continue to love them nonetheless. If this does not tell them that we love them, nothing can or will.'

The Logistics of Salvation
the love of God for us pours into and through a few reservoirs of love as it travels along the supply Line - the distribution pipeline - from God in heaven to us on earth

The supply line that carries the love of God for us from God in heaven to us here on earth eschews words. Words were not used to convey the love of God for us. They would not survive the journey. Words were too fragile a conveyance to carry the weight of the revelation. The weight of the revelation would crush them as flat as a pancake and spill their meaning all over the place in an unintelligible mess. Such spillage would create a theological disaster of epic misunderstanding!

The revelation, therefore, was conveyed to us by vehicles much more robust - and dramatic - than words. Instead of words, God conveyed his love for us by depositing it into sacred vessels - reservoirs of love - on its journey from God to us.

The first reservoir of love was Jesus. He was God's love note. God expressed his love for us by sending us a love note. What genre of literature is the Word of God ? The Word of God is a love note - a love note from God to us. God composed a love note to us in the Incarnation, delivered it to us in the form of a baby at Bethlehem, verified its genuineness for us in the violent collision between Jesus, our Savior, and the evil we did to him at and about Calvary, and celebrates its triumph over the serpent who waged war against it whenever a priest says a Mass. The love note is the foundation of Christianity. The edifice of Christianity is built upon the love note.

The second reservoir of love was the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through the bloody wounds of the Son of God, and finished at the Resurrection. The sequence of events is the golden thread of truth. Jesus deposited the love of God for us into the golden thread of truth and wove it into the very fabric of reality. Its golden incandescence, like the sun, illuminates the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. The sequence of events functions as a "bank" to preserve the love of God for us in the Valley of Tears after Jesus returned to God the Father. It is ironic but the Word of God wasn't an author. He was a carpenter . The carpenter built God's love for us into the framework of the Cross of Christ. Rally 'round the Cross!

The third reservoir of love is the most Holy Eucharist. The clerks of the "bank" transfer the message of the love of God for us from the "bank" into the most Holy Eucharist for distribution to the children of Adam and Eve. His decision to use body, blood, bread and wine was not random, accidental, arbitrary or capricious. Jesus deliberately picked the four elements of the most Holy Eucharist to pinpoint the LOCATION of the treasure of Christianity and to emphasize the IMPORTANCE of the treasure. The BODY AND BLOOD of the most Holy Eucharist point us to the LOCATION of the treasure of Christianity. The connection between his body and his blood is his bloody wounds. At and about his bloody wounds, the treasure of Christianity is buried. The BREAD AND WINE of the most Holy Eucharist point us to the IMPORTANCE of his bloody wounds. Without consuming food and drink, we die of hunger and thirst. Without consuming the meaning of his bloody wounds, death is just as certain.

The final reservoir of love is us. We are made in the image and likeness of God . He endowed us with the capacity to love. The greater the love that we hold in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God. The love of God for us is transferred from us to our neighbors . We love them because God loves us. Love begets love. "We love him, because he first loved us." .

Love is not free. It comes at a cost. Love demands a ransom. Selfish love picks up the tab for ourselves. When the scope of our love expands to include our neighbors, our love transforms itself from selfish into sacrificial. Sacrificial love picks up the tab for our neighbors . Jesus achieved the pinnacle of sacrificial love when he picked up the tab for his enemies.

"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." The most Sacred Heart of Jesus overflows with love. His cup runneth over like the dewfall . From his heart, our hearts receive a transfusion of love. The transfusion of love is invigorating. It vivifies us. It brings the dead to life. Jesus inflates our deflated hearts with love . Without hearts filled to the brim with love, we are dead - in dire need of reanimation. The dead are born again when they inflate their deflated hearts with love. "I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly" . Consumption of the love of God for us brings the dead to life.

Teach us, good Lord,
to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for any reward,
save that of knowing that we do your will.

Amen.
— Saint Ignatius of Loyola

The Treasure of Christianity

The sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through the bloody wounds of the Son of God, and ended at the Resurrection is the golden thread of truth. The Son of God deposited a revelation about God into the golden thread of truth for us to decode. He then wove the golden thread of truth into the very fabric of reality. Around it, God established a Church. The job of the Church is to point out its existence to the children of Adam and Eve and invite them to explore the apocalyptic revelation for themselves. The Church is the usher who shows the children of Adam and Eve to their seats to watch the Son of God put on the show. The Son of God, not the Church, is the star of the show. God did not award a monopoly to the Church over the interpretation of the golden thread of truth. Quite the contrary. God open-sourced it. He deposited it directly into the public domain. He did not make it anyone's private property. Everyone is free regardless of religion or lack of religion to decode it. God did not erect fences around it. Its revelation about God is catholic in the broadest sense of the word. The golden thread of truth is truly of the people, by the people, for the people . Therefore, play the detective. Figure out what the clues that the Son of God deposited into the golden thread of truth tell you about God. In the golden thread of truth the treasure of Christianity is buried. The treasure enriches our understanding of God. Dig it up. Make yourself rich.

That the Son of God did the Crucifixion tells us in no uncertain terms that there is nothing He won’t do for us. Nothing. He did the Crucifixion for sinners. Think what He is willing to do for saints!

Can you Decode the Message?

Jesus deposited a message onto a golden thread of truth and weaved it into the very fabric of reality. The golden thread of truth started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through the bloody wounds of the Son of God, and ended at the Resurrection. Can you decode it? Can you figure it out? Have you read it? At this early stage in your exploration of the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God, you are not being asked to believe it, just to decode it. The reward from this exercise in cryptography is a better understanding of God - a high fidelity representation of the reality of God. By decoding the sequence of events, you release the brilliant lightning that illuminates the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. God did not reveal himself to us in words. The meaning of words is fickle. God revealed himself to us in a demonstration of divinity that took place in the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through his bloody wounds and ended at the Resurrection. It is ironic but the Word of God wasn't an author. He was a carpenter . The carpenter built the answer to the question, 'Who is God?', on and about the framework of the Cross. When we decode the sequence of events for its message, we discover that God was not reticent about expressing his love for us. The message that the Word of God deposited in the sequence of events was a love note in which God expressed his love for us. In fact, expressing his love for us was so important that God did not send a subordinate to express it. He did not dispatch a flunky. God did the job himself. He did the job in the answer he gave to the evil we did to him. Jesus's answer to the evil we did to him was radically asymmetric. The radical asymmetry of his answer to the evil we did to him tells us all we need to know about the God in whom Christians believe. The radical asymmetry of his answer was the byproduct of his love for us. Even though we tortured and killed him, our God is still head over heels in love with us. Because his most Sacred Heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us, Jesus was able to say "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" . The evil that we did to him did not extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in his most Sacred Heart or reduce its intensity by even the slightest degree. The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even the evil we did to him could budge it. How awesome is the Christian God? Wow!

Transcendence

We can transcend the hostile army of crosses that besiege us as we pass through the Valley of Tears by filling our hearts to the brim with love.

The Buoyancy of Love

Jesus's yoke is easy and his burden, light because the yoke of Jesus is love and love has the property of buoyancy. A Christian is a person whose heart is filling up with love - a love that overflows the brim not like the dewfall but like a gushing, rushing waterfall. Love is the sealant that prevents us from falling through the trap door into the madness of evil. Because love has the property of buoyancy, a heart filled to the brim with love serves as a flotation device. It is a hot air balloon that lifts us up and out of the hostile truth of the Valley of Tears. The bouyancy of love causes us to ascend from the level of the most hideous and miserable of loveless beast to the level of our loving God - from the cellar to the penthouse. Love deifies us.

The Technology Jesus Transported from heaven to earth to help us succeed in the Challenge of the Cross

Jesus transported from heaven to earth the technology that enables us to pick up and carry our crosses. Furthermore, the Son of God demonstrated for us that the technology works by using it himself. He donned the jet pack and flew to show us that we, too, can fly. What a crazy daredevil this Jesus was. Jesus hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from our crosses. When you hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung, love as Jesus loved. Hold tight and refuse to let go of love, sufferings invincible foe. The hearts of people of God are filling up with love - love that overflows the brim not like the dewfall but like a rushing, gushing waterfall. Only love transforms them into superman with the strength to deny themselves, pick up and carry their crosses.

The Son of God did not transport and demonstrate pie-in-the-sky, head-in-the-clouds technology. He transported and demonstrated down-to-earth, practical technology. We can use it today, not just tomorrow, profitably. It is relevant to this world not just to the next.

Furthermore, the technology is platform agnostic. It works whether you are a Roman Catholic, other Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Pagan, Atheist, Saint, Sinner or something else. It is open source technology. It is catholic in the broadest sense of the word. No religion has a monopoly over it. Furthermore, no conditions need to be satisfied before it can be used.

Indeed, it is radical technology. Because love has the property of buoyancy, a heart filled to the brim with love serves as a flotation device. It is a hot air balloon that lifts us up and out of the hostile truth of the Valley of Tears. Love is the helium of the heart. The technology allows each of us to ascend from the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast to the level of God.

The technology deifies us.

A demonstration of God - not a declaration about God - revealed to us the "similitude" of God - a high fidelity representation of the reality of God.

The Dramatic Manner in Which God Introduced Himself to Us

A violent collision took place between Jesus, our Savior, and the evil we did to him. The collision was bigger than the Big Bang and larger than CERN's Large Hadron Collider . From the violent collision, truth erupted whose incandescence illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany . The veil of the temple was was rent in twain from the top to the bottom and Jesus stepped through the rent in the veil to introduce God to us . The incandescent truth is the shining jewel that nestles provocatively at the center of the bosom of Christianity.

Can you articulate the truth generated by the violent collision? If not, may I introduce you to it? In the collision, we meet our maker. We make the acquaintance of our God himself.

In the violence of the collision, the Autobiography of God was written - the Self-Portrait of God was painted. The answer to the question, "Who is God?", was given to us by none other than God himself. On and about the platform of the Cross, Jesus demonstrated - not just declared - the identity of God. He did not just tell us. He showed us. Jesus did not write the Autobiography of God in words. It is ironic but the Word of God wasn't an author. He was a carpenter . The carpenter built the Autobiography of God on the framework of the Cross of Christ. From the framework of the Cross, God introduced himself to us.

What genre of literature is the Word of God ? The Word of God is a love note - a love note from God to us. God composed the love note to us in heaven and delivered it to us at Bethlehem. Furthermore, to certify that the love note was genuine not counterfeit, God annexed his oath to the love note. He set his seal upon it. God's oath a/k/a his seal testified that the love note did indeed come from God. What was God's oath? What was his seal? His oath and seal were the violent collision - it verified the truth of the love note.

The beginning of the collision is known as the Crucifixion and the ending, as the Resurrection.

The collision yielded fruit both sour and sweet.

The Crucifixion produced the sour fruit of the collision. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died.

The Resurrection produced the sweet fruit of the collision. We launched a freight train of evil toward him. He saw it coming . Remarkably, he stood in its path. He did not flinch. He did not cower. He did not jump out of the way. He took evil on the chin . He stood firm and, by standing firm, stopped evil's progress dead in its tracks. He suffered and died but evil did not jump the gap between us and him. It did not transmogrify him into the most hideous and the most miserable of loveless beasts. "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" . Although we tortured and killed him and he suffered and died, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive revealed to us the power of Jesus. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than power. Our conception of divinity as power is incomplete - flawed. Divinity is also love. God is still head over heels in love with us despite the evil we did to him.

God's power built paradise for us. God's love for us, however, makes paradise sweet. Power begets respect; but, love begets love.

Verification of God's Love for Us

Without sacrifice, it is impossible to tell with any certainty whether love is real or counterfeit. Love that survives sacrifice is real. Love that does not is counterfeit. Our God's love for us survived the evil we did to him. This verified his love for us. If his love for us were counterfeit, it would have faded as we tortured him and died when we killed him. But it did not. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. Survival proves his love for us is real.

Only Reality is Reliable

Among his many gifts, God endowed us with the gift of rationality. Rationality steers the ship. Furthermore, rational creatures behave in a predictable manner. We follow a pattern. It is not a complicated pattern. Sweetness attracts us. Honey draws the bees back home to the hive. Sourness repels us. We flee from it. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise. Hence, the truth can drive us. The sour truth pushes us to its exit. The sweet truth pulls us to its entrance. The sour truth and the sweet truth are two engines that generate a current that carries us. We tend not to swim against the current of our rationality.

Our enemies, however, thow monkey wrenches into the gears of our rationality. They sabotage it. The truth is the fuel of our rationality. When fueled by the the truth, our rationality steers us in the right direction. When the fuel of truth is fouled by illusion, our rationality leads us astray . Our enemies foul the fuel of truth with illusion. Illusion is not reliable. Illusion is a fog that distorts our perception of reality. The fog of illusion disorients us.

Only reality is reliable. Reality is the rock on which the wise build their house ; illusion is the sand . God supplies the rock; the serpent supplies the sand. God wants us to build our house on rock not on sand. Therefore, God's greatest desire is for us to discern reality from illusion.

In the controversy between God and the serpent, the children of Adam and Eve are the jury. We depend on the evidence - the truth - to reach the right verdict. Religion is an evidence based endeavor. So, keep your pious nonsense to yourself. Show us the evidence. Fuel our rationality with the truth.

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" .

Religion is an Evidence Based Endeavor

The scientific method holds that by exploring the same trails that the Church explored, the children of Adam and Eve ought to make the same discoveries. You are, therefore, invited to explore the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through his bloody wounds and finished at the Resurrection. When you explore this holy ground, the disoveries that you will make about God will astound you! The answer to the question, ' Who is God?', is found at and about the Crucifixion on the near side of his bloody wounds, the Resurrection on the far side of his bloody wounds and the connection that ties the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together into a conversation - a most apocalyptic conversation. His bloody wounds hold the treasure of Christianity. We approach perfection in our understanding of God, when we put our fingers into the nail holes and our hand into the wound at his side .

Our Rescue is Achieved By the Application of the Truth to Our Rationality

Our faculty of obedience is broken. We have known that it is broken since the age of Adam and Eve. To rescue us, God bypasses our faculty of obedience and appeals to our faculty of rationality. God rescues us from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears by applying the truth to our rationality.

I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.
— Mother Teresa,

Both the Sour Evidence and the Sweet Evidence contribute to the Jury's verdict

The Valley of Tears manufacturers its own evidence for us who stew in it as pickles stew in a barrel of brine. It is autodidactic. The sourness of a life without God in the Valley of Tears is self-evident. The sweetness of paradise is not self-evident because we do not abide there. It is not autodidactic. In the Valley of Tears, its sweetness needs to be revealed to the children of Adam and Eve. The pedagogy of the Cross is the device that God employed to reveal the sweetness of paradise to us. It was apocalyptic. Moreover, it dilutes the bitterness of the Valley of Tears in the same way that sugar cubes dilute the bitterness of a cup of coffee. It mitigates the bitterness of the pedagogy of the Valley of Tears.

The Valley of Tears

In the Valley of Tears, God let's us put our fingers into the flames to learn for ourselves that the fire is hot. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" The Valley of Tears is as foul as Eden was fair - as hostile as Eden was hospitable. As we pass through the Valley of Tears, we eat the bread of adversity and drink the water of affliction . The rod is not spared on the children of Adam and Eve in the Valley of Tears. Spare the rod and spoil the children .

Personal experience with the truth itself is the most powerful means of persuasion. God does not use half measures. God uses the most powerful means of persuasion.

A controversy arose between God and the serpent. The serpent testified we become gods without God in the Valley of Tears . God testified that, without God, we perish . Whose testimony was true? God's or the serpent's? Our first hand experience with the toxicity of the Valley of Tears defangs the serpent. It drains the serpent's illusion of its power to deceive. It unmasks the lie and the liar . It drives the serpent's credibility down to hell and God's credibility up to the heavens. We don't become gods, without God, in the Valley of Tears. Letting us stew in the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of brine is harsh but effective medicine .

The blessings that come from baptism

Why does God let us stew in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears for a lifetime? We derive blessings from our bitter baptism in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears.

1) It defangs the serpent. It drains the serpent's illusion that we become gods without God in the Valley of Tears of its power to deceive. It unmasks the lie and the liar .

2) It increases the credibility of God

3) It serves as medicine that vaccinates us against a repetition of the original sin of our parents, Adam and Eve. The prodigal son will never go back to the pig sty. Neither will we.

The Degeneration of the Sublime into the Mundane

Guard against the degeneration of a beautiful reality into a petty rule. Clerics tend to substitute petty rules for beautiful realities. They tend to reduce the magical into the mundane - the lightning into the lightning bug.

The delay between the gift of life and the gift of paradise

God inserted a delay between the gift of life and the gift of paradise. We call the delay the Valley of Tears. The Valley of Tears is the vessel in which we are baptized in evil. Many and merciless are the crosses that besiege us as we pass through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of death, and into the promised land. God does not rescue us from the Valley of Tears immediately. Why? Figuring out the reason why God wants us to marinate like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine unlocks the purpose of life.

Reconciliation: The problem of Evil

The trick to a proper understanding of God is to reconcile the delay in our rescue from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears and a God who is head over heals in love with us. The two ideas appear to be irreconciable. In fact, they are not. There is an explanation.

Jesus paid us a visit to mitigate the harshness of our passage through the Valley of Tears with love.

Jesus paid us a visit to reveal to us the sweetness of paradise through the pedagogy of the Cross. Rational creatures seek the sweetness of paradise. It is contrary to their self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise.

Elevating our Confidence in His love for us

God embedded the love note into the very fabric of our reality to raise the level of our confidence in his love for us through the roof. He wanted us to be certain that His love for us is real. "What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God."  (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756).

Love is the "grease" that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of death and into the promised land. The Son of God transported the "grease of love" from heaven to us here on earth. Furthermore, he demonstrated for us that it works by using it himself. He donned the jet pack and flew to show us that we, too, can fly. What a crazy daredevil this Jesus was. Jesus hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from our crosses. When you hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung, love as Jesus loved. Hold tight and refuse to let go of love, sufferings invincible foe.

What are the consequences of the mismangement of Christianity?

Christianity has been badly mismanged. What are the consequences of the mismanagement of Christianity? The escape of the new Exodus through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death and into the promised land is sputtering and stalling. Fewer and fewer are going to Mass. Only a handful still go to Confession. Marriages are falling apart. Mothers are murdering their babies. The priesthood is going extinct . The trend is downward and accelerating. The only sacrament holding its own is the sacrament of extreme unction and this is so only because the dying have little choice. The thermometer that gauges the temperature of the body of Christ is the practice of Christianity. By this measure, the patient is moribund - a few breaths away from death.

The best answer to the question, 'Who is God?', is the answer that the Son of God gave us

Jesus did not answer the question, 'Who is God?', in words. It is ironic but the Word of God wasn't an author. He was a carpenter . The carpenter built the answer the question, 'Who is God?' into and about the framework of the Cross of Christ.

Many have tried to give the world the answer to the question, 'Who is God?'. The only answer that matters, however, is the answer given by the Son of God himself.

He answered the question, 'Who is God?' when he gave us his answer to the evil we did to him. Therefore, the correct answer to the question, 'Who is God?' is anchored to the sequence of events that started at the Crucifixion on the near side of his bloody wounds, proceeded through his bloody wounds, and ended at the Resurrection on the far side of his bloody wounds. The treasure of Christianity is buried in 1) the Crucifixion, 2) the Resurrection and 3) the connection that ties the Crucifixion and the Resurrection into an apocalyptic conversation. The answer enriches our understanding of God. Therefore, become a prospector. Grab your pick and shovel and meet me at the holy ground where the treasure of Christianity is buried so we can dig up the treasure together and make ourselves rich!

Is your answer to the question, 'Who is God?', the same as the answer that the Son of God gave us?

The answer to the question, "Who is God?", is the treasure of Christianity. To pinpoint the precise location of the treasure, God erected a landmark. At the epicenter of the apocalypse, God planted the Cross of Christ to serve as the flag that rallies Christians to the Son of God. Rally 'round the Cross!

1) What sharp question did we shout at the Son of God in the Crucifixion?

2) What gentle answer did he whisper to us in the Resurrection?

Answer these two questions and you approach perfection in your understanding of God.

Prospecting for treasure

What is the best way to discover the answer the question,'Who is God?'? The best way is to explore his bloody wounds, the Crucifixion on their near side, the Resurrection on their far side and the connection that binds the two events together. Put your fingers into the nail holes and your hand into the wound at his side . A study of God's bloody wounds will yield a high fidelity representation of the reality of God - the "similitude" of God for us to behold. In the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through his bloody wounds and ended at the Resurrection, the answer to the question,'Who is God?' is found. The answer is the treasure of Christianity. The treasure of Christianity enriches our understanding of God. A unique landmark pinpoints the precise location of the treasure. In the middle of the holy ground where the treasure is buried , the most Holy Trinity planted the Cross of Christ to serve as the flag that rallies Christians to the Son of God. Rally 'round the Cross! Therefore, become, with me, a prospector. Grab your pick and shovel and meet me at the holy ground that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through his bloody wounds and ended at the Resurrection so we can dig up the treasure together and make ourselves rich!

Who is God?

Your answer to the question, "Who is God?", is important. Your conception of God greatly influences how you live your life. Therefore, doesn't it make sense to get the answer right? What is you answer? Are you sure that you have the answer right? Perhaps it is time to take a second look at your answer?

To get the answer right, it behooves us to first understand the role that an answer plays in the fundamental unit of thinking, the troika of question, answer and basis. John Donne teaches us that "No man is an island entire of itself". Neither is an answer. An answer is not a solitary creature. It is never alone. Its boon companion is its basis. A question, an answer and its basis dance together as a team in the ballroom of our rationality to give our world meaning. An answer derives its strength from its basis. A weak basis begets a weak answer; a strong basis begets a strong answer; a wishy-washy basis begets a wishy-washy answer. The best answer is the answer with the best basis. The quest for the best answer to a question is, therefore, the quest for the best basis.

So let us think about it. From what source do we derive our knowledge of God? On what foundation do we build our answer to the question, "Who is God?"? Out of what field does our answer grow?

If your answer is not anchored to the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, your understanding of Christianity is flawed. Sorry, but the foregoing statement is not hyperbole. You may have been awarded a Ph.D. in Christianity but if you are not privy to the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, your education is defective. In the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, the Autobiography of God was written, the self-portrait of God was painted. In the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, God revealed himself to us.

Do some self-examination. What picture of God do you hold in your head? Can you articulate it? Can you articulate its basis? How does it fare in terms of fidelity when it is compared to the picture that God himself gave us in the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection - the most apocalyptic conversation that has ever taken place between us and our God since Moses and God conversed at the burning bush on Mount Horeb ?

The Most Holy Eucharist is not the treasure of Christianity. It is the treasure map.

Indeed, the most Holy Eucharist is God. Without question. However, it is not the treasure of Christianity. It is the treasure map. The treaure of Christianity is God's love for us. The immutability of God's love for us, its size, duration and uniqueness were revealed to us in the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through his bloody wounds and ended at the Resurrection. God's power made paradise for us. God's love for us, however, is the ingredient that makes paradise sweet. The sweetness of paradise is the honey that draws the bees back home to the hive. There is more to the most Holy Eucharist than the real presence - much more. If you just see the real presence of God in the most Holy Eucharist, you do not understand it. You have simplified it. You have dumbed it down. You have bowdlerized it.

The Son of God is a philanthropist not a sadist. He is our friend not our foe. He paid us a visit to make our journey through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of death and into the promised land easier not harder .

Saints are the children of Adam and Eve who have fallen in love with God. The harder the fall, the greater the saint.

Understanding begets Seeking

His power built paradise for us. His love for us, however, is the ingredient that makes paradise sweet. Power begets respect. But love begets love. Love inflates a deflated heart with love. The most Sacred Heart of Jesus overflows with love. His cup runneth over like the dewfall . From his heart our hearts receive a transfusion of love. The transfusion of love is invigorating. It vivifies us. It brings the dead to life. "We love him, because he first loved us." . His love for us is the honey that draws the bees back home to the hive. Rational creatures seek the sweetness of paradise (and flee the sourness of godlessness) . It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise. The truth is the fuel of our rationality. When fueled by the the truth, our rationality steers us in the right direction. When the fuel of truth is fouled by illusion, our rationality leads us astray. Therefore, make known the sweetness of paradise. Make the children of Adam and Eve understand. Understanding begets seeking . However, an obstacle blocks our understanding and, hence, our seeking. Illusions hide the truth from us. They distort our perception of reality. The serpent casts two illusions. He casts an illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness and an illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise. Therefore, use the truth to shatter the illusions. All truth? No. Much is true. However, much that is true is irrelevant. The truth that matters is the subset of truth that shatters the illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness and the illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise. The sledgehammer of truth shatters the two illusions as the blow of a hammer shatters glass. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" .

The most important role of the Church is to testify as a witness to the truth. What truth? The sourness of the Valley of Tears is autodidactic. There is little that the Church can tell us about the Valley of Tears that the Valley of Tears does not tell us herself. God lets us put our fingers into the flames of the Valley of Tears to learn for ourselves that the fire is hot. First hand, personal experience with the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears shatters the serpent's sugarcoating of the Valley of Tears as the blow of a sledgehammer shatters glass. No, the truth that the Church is called upon to proclaim is the sweetness of paradise. The sweetness of paradise is not autodidactic. Only through revelation is the sweetness of paradise made known to us.

The March of the New Exodus

The new Exodus is marching on the escape route from holy place to holy place through the Valley of Tears hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm together as one family in a common enterprise to the rhythmic beat of the loving heart of our living God!

Making People of God

"Why do you delay your rescue of us, o Lord ?" "Why does God tarry?" God lets us stew in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears for a lifetime like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine. Why?

Our baptism in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears does not seem to be a solution to our "problem". It seems to be the "problem" itself. Yet, God makes lemonade out of lemons. God's conception of our "problem" is different than our conception of our "problem" so God's conception of our rescue is different than our conception of our rescue . We want God to eliminate our crosses. God, however, has other ideas. God is not interested in making godlessness into a better, more hospitable place for godless people to live. God wants to transform godless people into people of God. Our baptism in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears, despite its brutality, is crucial to achieving the transformation that God desires.

The Serpent's Persuasive Argument that God does not exist or does not love us

The serpent is subtle indeed . The serpent is making this argument to us. A loving God would rescue us immediately from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears. He would either eliminate our crosses or extricate us from the Valley of Tears and return us to paradise immediately. He would not insert a delay between the the gift of life and the gift of paradise. Delivery of the two gifts would be simultaneous not sequential and would not be interrupted by a delay during which we stew for a lifetime in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of brine. A truly loving God would not lollygag while our crosses are chewing us up into bits and pieces. He would forthwith intervene. The fact that God does not rescue us immediately is persuasive evidence that strongly suggests that God does not exist or that God does not love us. The failure of God to rescue us immediately from the teeth of our crosses is a powerful engine of doubt about both the existence and the love of God.

To neutralize the serpent's anti-God propaganda, Jesus Commandeered a Cross - the Agent of Our Woe - Reconfigured it and from it demonstrated that God exists and loves us Dearly

To neutralize the serpent's anti-god propaganda, Jesus commandeered a cross - the agent of our woe. He reconfigured it. He turned off the broadcast of the serpent's anti-God propaganda. Then he used his Cross to amplify the signal from God that carries the message of his everlasting love of us . From the platform of the Cross, Jesus published the good news of great joy. He put the "similitude" of God on display before us for us to behold. From the platform of the Cross, he proved that God exists and that God loves us dearly.

God let our evil punctuate the body of Jesus with bloody wounds. His bloody wounds were question marks. They marked a mystery. 'What would be his response to the evil we did to him?' At the time that our evil opened bloody wounds in his body, the response that they would trigger from him was a mystery to us. The reasonable expectation was that the evil we did to him would trigger his reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution. "An eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" . Thankfully, he did not respond in kind . He changed the tone of the conversation .

His love for us made his reaction to the evil we did to him asymmetric - radically asymmetric. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He and his love for us survived the evil we did to him. Wow! He arose from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive is the indisputable proof of his power. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than power. It showed us the indisputable proof that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is also love - a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love . His love for us did not fade as we tortured him and did not die when we killed him. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. The dial that controlls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even the evil we did to him could budge it.

Isn't it good news of great joy for us to know with certainty that God is head over heals in love with us? Doesn't the demonstration that Jesus produced of his love for us on the Cross neutralize the serpent's anti-God propaganda?

Whose testimony do we believe: 1) The anti-God propaganda of the serpent that tells us that God does not exist or that he does not love us 2) or the demonstration that God performed from the Cross showing us that he does exist and that he does love us. We are the jury. Whom do we believe?

The Different Varieties of Christians

There are two varieties of Christians. One variety builds a fence around the escape route from godlessness to paradise, rations access to it and posts warning signs such as "Members Only", "Keep out","Beware of Dog" and "No Trespassing". To them, Christianity is an elite private club open only to a tiny subset of the children of Adam and Eve - a rare sliver with the right credentials. Another variety of Christian views the escape route as a public highway, catholic in scope, open to all including sinners - especially sinners . The former variety of Christians thinks that they do the work of transforming a sinner into a saint - transformation is the fruit of their hands. The latter variety understand that the job of transforming a sinner into a saint belongs to God.
Which variety of Christian are you?

The Steamroller of God's Love

The sequence of events that started at the Crucifixion, proceeded through his bloody wounds, and ended at the Resurrection is the steamroller of God's love. It rolls over anyone who enters its path. The job of the Church is to put people in its path. God does the rest.

The Basis of Christianity

Perceptions can differ. Your perception of the basis of Christianity is different than mine. You perceive that Christianity is based on a byzantine codex of rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole. I perceive that Christianity is based on a love note. Whose perception is the better perception? Whose perception is more accurate?

Going to Mass is like going to the bank and making a withdrawal from someone else’s account whose owner is overjoyed to share his wealth with us .

Some Christians like to talk about the immutability of doctrine - infallibility. When we hear them, we wonder, 'why are they not talking about the immutability of God's love for us?' Why are they squandering the conversation with lesser things - lilliputian things in comparison to the immutability of God's love for us? Why do we get the impression that they do not understand what matters - that they haven't a clue? Clerics delight in their doctrines. The children of Adam and Eve delight in the immutability of God's love for us.

God is The Star of the Show

It is not about the Church. It is about God. The aristocrats of the Church need to learn a lesson from our amusement parks. The nitty gritty of their operation takes place in the background away from the eyes of their customers. When the nitty gritty breaks into the foreground, the experience is ruined. The Church is functioning well when God is in the foreground and the Church is in the background. The clergy are the ushers who shows us to our seats. God, however, is the star of the show. The Church goes off the rails when the clergy start to think that they are the stars of the show. When the Church jumps into the foreground and elbows God into the background, all hell breaks loose.

The ratio of the content of the conversation must be at least 50% faith for Christianity to succeed. Currently, the conversation is mostly about morals.

What is the greatest threat to our salvation?

What is the greatest threat to our salvation? We have stopped exploring the battlefield on which Jesus triumphed over the serpent. The serpent waged war against God. The war started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through his bloody wounds, and ended at the Resurrection. To pinpoint the precise location of the battlefield, God erected a unique landmark. In the middle of the battlefield, the most Holy Trinity planted the Cross of Christ to serve as the flag that rallies Christians to the Son of God. Rally 'round the Cross! The serpent armed us, his proxies, with lash, thorns, nails and spear for the purpose of draining God's most Sacred Heart of his love for us. Our role in the war was to torture and kill the Son of God while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth. Surely, the serpent reasoned, this insult to the very person of the Son of God would extinguish God's love for us. But, the serpent failed. His failure was abject. The evil we did to Jesus did not extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in his most Sacred Heart or reduce its intensity by even the slightest degree. Unfortunately, Christians have stopped rallying 'round the Cross. The Church has stopped taking the children of Adam and Eve on tours to explore the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through his bloody wounds and ended at the Resurrection. It has stopped engaging in the slow and methodical process of building a foundation upon which we can rest our faith in God. It is guilty of mismanaging Christianity.

The decline in Christianity is the byproduct of the Imbalance in the portfolio of faith and morals

Christians are killing Christianity

The Church claims the king's role in matters of faith and morals . However, its portfolio of faith and morals is unbalanced. It is out of whack. The Church has mismanaged it. The Church has taken a larger position in morals than it has in faith - much larger. In the exercise of the king's role, the Church has allowed morals to eclipse faith. Regulation has replaced revelation. The Marthas have replaced the Marys . The nitty-gritty of Christianity has replaced the pizzazz. By failing to bait the hook with the pizzazz of Christianity, the Church is no longer catching fish . Much worse, the Church is no longer keeping them. The fish are jumping out of the barque of Peter.

The foundation of our faith in God is a Love Note - a Love Note from God to us. God composed a Love Note to us in the Incarnation, delivered it to us at Bethlehem, verified its genuineness in the violent collision between Jesus, our Savior, and the evil we did to him at and about Calvary, and celebrates its victory over the serpent whenever a priest says a Mass. Yet, Christians have pushed the Love Note out of the conversation, into the periphery and replaced it with morals and other minor aspects of Christianity inferior to the Love Note.

Christianity is dying not because of hostile external forces but because Christians are killing Christianity . Without first building a foundation on which we can rest our faith in God, the Church is trying to wrap the heavy chain of morals around our necks. Without faith in God, we are fearful that the heavy chain of morals will drag us down to our deaths below the surface of the abyss. It is not reasonable to expect the children of Adam and Eve to behave as a Christian behaves and to believe as a Christian believes until after they become a Christian. Without first transforming them into Christians, no amount of exhortation will convince them that morality is the crown of glory that Christians proudly wear on their heads as they participate in the new Exodus that is making its escape through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death and into the Kingdom of God. We can look up to God or we can look down at our behavior. We cannot do both at the same time. Our heads don't work that way. So, which do we do first? Which is the priority? Do we first build the foundation of Christianity or do we first build the roof?

A solution is needed to stop and reverse the trend. We need to pull the Church out of the death spiral. The status quo is unsustainable. Therefore, equal time is demanded - equal time for faith. The portfolio of faith and morals must be brought back into balance. Can we devote at least 50% of the conversation to faith? Can we devote at least 50% of the conversation to the pizzazz of Christianity? Is 50% too much to ask?

Morals do not beget morals. Faith begets morals. The only way to do morals is to do faith. And the path to morality passes through the heart. Any attempt to do morals that bypasses the heart fails.

God established holy places to define the escape route that takes the new Exodus through the hostile truth of the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death, the worst and the last of our crosses and into the kingdom of God, the promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey . He defined the escape route with holy places, made a map of them, established a Church and entrusted the map to the Church. He gave the Church the job of facilitating our escape - not the job of frustrating it, filtering it or fouling it up. The escape is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect. The Church has the map and knows the way! The job of the Church is limited to facilitation. The job of the Church is to bring us and God together at the Holy Places. Participation, not transformation, is the job of the Church. Why? Participation in the escape through the Valley of Tears - and only partipation - transforms sinners into saints. We do not transform ourselves. The Church does not transform us. Only God transforms us and he does so at the holy places that define the escape route through the Valley of Tears from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his Holy Family in the promised land. A holy place is where lovers meet - us and our God . To do its job, the Church must convince us to spend time with God at the holy places. Why? We can only fall in love with God if we spend time with him. WHEN WE FALL IN LOVE WITH GOD, WE CHANGE OUR BEHAVIOR TO PLEASE OUR LOVER. Falling in love with God is the catalyst of conversion. SAINTS ARE THE CHILDREN OF ADAM AND EVE WHO HAVE FALLEN IN LOVE WITH GOD. THE HARDER THE FALL, THE GREATER THE SAINT.

The children of Adam and Eve do not need clerics whose heads are full of rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole. The children of Adam and Eve need clerics whose hearts are filled to the brim with love.

Which is the Greater Miracle?

Nothing grows in the toxic soil of the Crucifixion. Nothing. It is a barren matrix. So when the flower of the Resurrection sprouted and grew, we beheld a miracle . We planted Jesus in the toxic soil of the Crucifixion, yet, the flower of the Resurrection emerged therefrom still alive and still in love with us. The flower of the Resurrection is remediating the toxicity of the soil. That he emerged from the dead still alive revealed to us the power of Jesus. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than power. It revealed to us that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is also love. Which is the greater miracle? His emerging from the dead still alive or his emerging from the dead still in love with us?

Jesus hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from our crosses. When you hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung, love as Jesus loved. Hold tight and refuse to let go of love, sufferings invincible foe.

Saints are the children of Adam and Eve who have fallen in love with God. The harder the fall, the greater the saint. When we fall in love with God, we change our behavior to please our lover. "What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God."  (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756).

God endowed us with the capacity to love. Our hearts are vessels that we can fill to the brim with love. In this way, God made us in his own image and likeness . The greater the love that we hold in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" .

God's Greatest Revelation

God himself poured many words, deeds and events into the history of humanity to enhance our understanding of God - to make himself known to us - to give us a high fidelity representation of the reality of God - to expose us to the sweetness of paradise. But, what is the greatest of God's contributions? One stands head and shoulders above the rest. What is it?

God's greatest contribution to our understanding of God is the conversation that took place between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Are you privy to the conversation? The Crucifixion was the harsh question that we shouted at Jesus with lash, thorns, nails and spear. "Who are you, Jesus?" "Identify yourself!" "Friend or foe?". We interrogated him. We gave him the third degree. The Resurrection was the gentle answer he whispered back to us. He did not answer the evil that we did to him in kind . He changed the tone of the conversation . "I am your friend not your foe. I am your almighty lover" . Jesus was the expression of God's love to us. He was the Love Note.

Trying to divorce the truth about God from the violent collision that took place between Jesus, our Savior, and the evil that we did to him is akin to trying to divorce the light from the lightning bug. It does not work. It cannot be done. It kills both the light and the lightning bug.

How God raised the degree of our confidence in his love for us through the roof

The identity of God unfolded before our eyes as a movie unfolds on a screen in the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through his bloody wounds, and ended at the Resurrection. God allowed us to conduct a science experiment with his love for us. We put his love for us to the test . Into a test tube of torture and death, we dipped his love for us as a scientist would dip a strip of litmus paper into a solution. Our hypothesis was that his love for us would fade as we tortured him and die when we killed him. Our hypothesis, however, was incorrect. In this baptism of evil, the apocalypse took place. Incandescent truth emerged that illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. First, he suffered and died. Yet, although death is usually the definitive marker of the end, the death of Jesus was not the end of the experiment. The experiment miracuously continued. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He emerged from the blackhole of death still alive and still in love with us. The purpose of God's participation in the experiment was to raise the level of our confidence in his love for us through the roof. God wanted us to be certain that His love for us is real. The experiment gave us the proof of the reality of his love for us. Reality is reliable. We can depend on the reality of his love for us. His love for us is the rock on which the wise build their house . Whom shall we fear? Of whom shall we be afraid ? Will our almighty lover ever let us down? Will he ever disappoint?

The God with the bloody wounds

Christianity presents the God with the bloody wounds to the children of Adam and Eve. The presentation is absurd. God is perfect . At least, that is the theory. Yet, the evidence seems to contradict the theory. The data paints a different picture than the theory paints about the perfection of God. Bloody wounds are grotesque imperfections that disfigure the perfection of God. They knock God off the pedestal of perfection and down a notch or two. Only an inferior, lesser god cannot protect himself from the creatures he fashioned from the dust with his hands . Only a faux god fails to defend himself from his creatures who torture and kill him. Who ever heard of an almighty god suffering and dying? The Christian God is an oxymoron. Suffering and dying and an almighty god just don't coexist together. Can the coexistence of these oxymoronic concepts be reconciled? Why did Jesus rebuke Peter, when he opposed the absurdity, saying, '"thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men " ? What did God know that we did not?

Perhaps we are misinterpreting the meaning of the bloody wounds? Perhaps they are not signs of inferiority but of superiority? Perhaps they are not bad news but good news? What message did the almighty God want to send to us by associating himself with bloody wounds? What are his bloody wounds trying to tell us?

His bloody wounds are the mouth of God. "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" . The good news of great joy was preached to us through his bloody wounds. By his bloody wounds we are healed . Witness the truth by watching the traffic through his bloody wounds. Buckets of blood spilled through the wounds that our evil opened in his body but not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us followed the blood through the wounds and out of his body. His most Sacred Heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. Because his most Sacred Heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us, Jesus was able to say "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" .

Jesus defeated evil not by stopping it from poking holes in his heart. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. The evil baptism into which we immersed him was horribly real. Jesus defeated evil in a different way. He turned the tables on evil. He answered the evil we did to him asymmetrically. The asymmetry of his answer was radical. Jesus defeated evil by refusing to let his love for us spill through the holes we poked in his heart. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go.

Typically, evil begets evil. In accordance with the law of symmetry, evil propagates itself, like a wave, from evildoer to victim. It jumps the gap between them. The evil we did to Jesus, however, did not jump the gap between him and us, contaminate him, and transmogrify him into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beast. He erected a firewall. The firewall that Jesus erected was this: He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. His heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us.

The stakes in the war that the serpent waged against God were love. The serpent armed us, his proxies, with lash, thorns, nails and spear for the purpose of draining his most Sacred Heart of his love for us. Our role in the war was to torture and kill the Son of God while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth. Surely, the serpent reasoned, this insult to the very person of the Son of God would extinguish God's love for us. But, the serpent failed. His failure was abject. The evil we did to Jesus did not extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in his most Sacred Heart or reduce its intensity by even the slightest degree.

The immutability of his love for us was published in the sequence of events that started at the Crucifixion, proceeded through his bloody wounds, and ended at the Resurrection. Immutability extends to both the size of his love for us and to its duration.

We get a sense of the size of his love for sinners by the size of the price he paid out of his own pocket to publish the proof of the immutability of his love for us. The price was exorbitant. He paid the exorbitant price not from his unlimited divine resources. He paid the exorbitant price from his limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else . Some say that the Son of God ovepaid - that he was ripped off. We were not worth the payment. He, on the other hand, was willing to pay the price. He thought that we were worth it. Rejoice and be glad! We are worth much to our God! He would not have paid an exorbitant price if we were not worth it.

His love for sinners, however, cannot be measured just by its amplitude. His love for sinners also has a temporal component. We can infer the duration of his love for sinners from its indestructibility. His love for sinners ought to have faded as we tortured him and ought to have died when we killed him. But it did not. It survived. Its survival is the proof that the duration of his love for us is forever. His love for us is mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn . The bonfire of love that burns for us in his most sacred heart is unquenchable. Not even the evil we did to him can extinguish the flame or reduce its intensity by even the slightest degree. The dial that controls his love for sinners is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even the evil we did to him could budge it.

The best way to make God's acquaintance is to explore his bloody wounds, the Crucifixion on their near side and the Resurrection on their far side. Put your fingers into the nail holes and your hand into the wound at his side . A study of God's bloody wounds will yield a high fidelity representation of the reality of God - the "similitude" of God for us to behold.

Jesus did not pay us a visit to show us the power of God. Been there; done that. Just ask the Pharaoh and his army. Jesus paid us a visit to show us something more significant about divinity than power. Jesus paid us a visit to show us the immutability of his love for us.

The puny God of the Christians; the mighty God of the Jews

The Romans tortured and killed Jesus. He suffered and died. How puny was the God of the Christians! How unlike the God of the Jews. The God of the Jews was a mighty God who defeated the Egyptians and liberated the Jews from bondage! The God of the Christians failed to liberate them from the Romans. In fact, the Romans sacked their capital, Jerusalem, in 70 A.D.

The God of the Jews is the same God as the God of the Christians. There is only one true, God.

What gives? Can we reconcile these seemingly contradictory facts?

In his encounter with the Egyptians, God showed us his omnipotence. 

In his encounter with the Romans, God showed us much more - much, much more. God showed us something better than omnipotence. God showed us the immutability of his love for us. 

We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. His love for survived the evil that we did to him. His power built paradise for us. His love for us, however, is the ingredient that makes paradise sweet. Rational people seek the sweetness of paradise (and flee the sourness of godlessness). It is contraty to our self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise.  

Stop trying to illuminate the darkness of our understanding of God with the dim flame of a match - the dim bulb of a lightning bug. Seize the brilliance of the lightning. The brilliant flash of lightning is found when we explore the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through his bloody wounds and ended at the Resurrection.

The Two Truths of The Resurrection

We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, Jesus did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. Wow! That he emerged from the dead still alive is the indisputable proof of his power. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than power. It showed us the indisputable proof that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is also love - a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love . His love for us did not fade as we tortured him and did not die when we killed him. His love for us survived the evil we did to him.

A Christian establishes himself on the Love Note . The Love Note is the eagle on whose back we fly up and out of the Valley of Tears. On the Love Note, Christians soar to paradise.

God's Plan is to Reverse the Catastrophe - to undo it

When Adam and Eve, like foolish children, ran away from their home with God in paradise and took us with them into exile in the Valley of Tears, they left love behind. Without God in the Valley of Tears, humanity became loveless. We fell from the level of God where hearts are filled to the brim with love to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast.

God was disappointed in the fall of humanity. So God decided to reverse the fall of man - to undo it. Humanity left love behind when Adam and Eve exited paradise. So God would bring love into the Valley of Tears.

So the God who fashioned us out of the dust with his hands put himself into the hands of the dust to leaven the dust with the yeast of divinity . The yeast of divinity is love. God's plan is to beget love in the hearts of the children of Adam and Eve. To beget love upon the earth, God sent us a Love Note to convey to the children of Adam and Eve the message that God loves them. Love begets love. "We love him, because he first loved us." .

God had made humanity superior not equal to the loveless beasts . God endowed us with the capacity to love. We are vessels that can hold love. In this way, God made us in his own image and likeness . The greater the love that we hold in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God. By filling our hearts to the brim with love, we enter the kingdom of God here on earth . "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" . Love deifies us.

God's power built paradise for us. God's love for us, however, makes paradise sweet. Power begets respect; but, love begets love. "What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God."  (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756) His love for us is the honey that lures the bees back home to the hive. Rational creatures seek the sweetness of paradise [and flee the sourness of godlessness]. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise.

The seed of transformation is the knowledge that God loves us .

The apocalypse took place during the sequence of events that started at the Crucifixion, procceeded through his bloody wounds, and ended at the Resurrection. In this sequence of events, Jesus revealed to us that God loves us. You are invited to explore the sequence of events to discover for yourself a high fidelity representation of the reality of God.

The most Sacred Heart of Jesus overflows with love. His cup runneth over like the dewfall . From him our hearts receive a transfusion of love. The transfusion of love is invigorating. It vivifies us. It brings the dead to life.

The War the Serpent Waged Against God

At and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet we call the Middle East more than two thousand years ago, the serpent waged war against God using us as his proxies. We did the serpent's dirty work for him.

The location of the battlefield is well known; its boundaries, well-defined. A unique landmark pinpoints the precise location of the battle. In the middle of the battlefield, the most Holy Trinity planted the Cross of Christ to serve as the flag that rallies Christians to the Son of God. Rally 'round the Cross!

On the battlefield, we impaled Jesus alive on the Cross with the same insouciance as the fisherman who impales a live worm on a sharp hook. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. If the battle ended with his death, victory would belong to the serpent. But the battle did not end with his death. To end the battle, Jesus did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. Wow! From the dead, Jesus emerged triumphant!

That he emerged from the dead still alive is the indisputable proof of his power. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than power. It showed us the indisputable proof that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is also love - a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love . His love for us did not fade as we tortured him and did not die when we killed him. His love for us survived the evil we did to him.

The serpent was jealous of God's love of us. The serpent's objective in the war, therefore, was to drain the most Sacred Heart of Jesus of his love for us . The serpent failed. His failure was abject. Not only did the serpent fail to extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the serpent failed to reduce the intensity of his love for us by even the slightest degree. Because his most Sacred Heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us, Jesus was able to say "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" . "What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God."  (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756). 

Love was the firewall that Jesus erected to stop the propagation of evil from us to him. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. By doing so, he shattered the cycle of evil. He stopped evil dead in its tracks. He did not permit evil to demote him from the level of God with a heart filled to the brim with love to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even the evil we did to him could budge it.

We can look up to God or we can look down at our behavior. We cannot do both at the same time. Our heads don't work that way. So, which do we do first? Which is the priority? Do we first build the foundation of Christianity or do we first build the roof?

The foundation on which stands our Faith in God

Jesus's answer to the evil we did to him was asymmetric - radically asymmetric. Typically, evil begets evil. In accordance with the law of symmetry, evil propagates itself, like a wave, from evildoer to victim. It jumps the gap between them. In the Crucifixion, we lit the fuse to the bomb of revenge, retaliation and retribution. The reasonable expectation was that the evil we did to him would trigger it. "An eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" . Yet, surprise, it was a dud. The fuse worked but it was not enough to ignite the bomb. The bomb did not explode. He did not answer the evil that we did to him in kind . He changed the tone of the conversation .

Why?

Who is God? One God; one answer. How difficult is it to answer the question? Jesus himself answered the question for us. However, he did not answer the question with words. It is ironic but the Word of God wasn't an author. He was a carpenter . The carpenter built the answer to the question, 'Who is God?', on and about the framework of the Cross. Jesus answered the question via a demonstration of divinity. He did not tell us about God. He showed us God. The showing took place on the battlefield where the serpent, using us as his proxies, waged war against God.

"Who are you, Jesus?" "Identify yourself!" "Friend or foe?". To get Jesus to answer the question,'Who is God?', we subjected him to a nasty process of distillation. We interrogated him with lash, thorns, nails and spear . We gave him the third degree. We put Jesus to the test . We baptized Jesus in a boiling cauldron of unmitigated evil. From the baptism, the truth about God's relationship with humanity emerged. He showed us that he was humanity's friend not its foe. Listen first to the truth that emerged from the wicked baptism into which we immersed Jesus before you listen to what others have said about him elsewhere.

The location of the battlefield is well known; its boundaries, well-defined. A unique landmark pinpoints the precise location of the battle. In the middle of the battlefield, the most Holy Trinity planted the Cross of Christ to serve as the flag that rallies Christians to the Son of God. Rally 'round the Cross! On the battlefield, we impaled Jesus alive on the Cross with the same insouciance that a fisherman impales a live worm on a sharp hook.

The battle had a beginning and an ending. The battle began on the near side of the Cross of Christ. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. At and about the Crucifixion, the battle began. The battle ended on the far side of the Cross of Christ when He arose from the dead. In the Resurrection, the battle ended.

The objective of the serpent in the war he waged against God was to poke holes in the most Sacred Heart of Jesus to drain it of his love for us. To achieve his objective, the serpent recruited us as allies. We became enemies of God. Our role in the battle was to torture and kill the Son of God while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth. Surely, the serpent reasoned, this insult to the very person of the Son of God would extinguish God's love for us.

Issue was joined on the battlefield in a violent collision between Jesus and the evil we did to him. The violent collision was bigger than the Big Bang and larger than CERN's Large Hadron Collider . We launched a freight train of evil toward him. He saw it coming . Remarkably, he stood in its path. He did not flinch. He did not cower. He did not jump out of the way. He took evil on the chin . He stood firm, and by standing firm, he defeated the serpent. In the battle, the apocalypse took place. From the violent collision, incandescent truths emerged that illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany.

Victory was achieved in the most extraordinary and supernatural fashion. Two things happened. Both are supernatural. Which of the two things is more extraordinary is a matter of debate. Jesus emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. That he emerged from the dead still alive is the indisputable proof of his power. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than power. It showed us the indisputable proof that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is also love - a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love . His love for us did not fade as we tortured him and did not die when we killed him. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. In the battle, the serpent failed to drain the most Sacred Heart of Jesus of his love for us. He failed to achieve his objective. The failure was the serpent's defeat and Jesus's victory. Not only did the serpent fail to extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the serpent failed to reduce the intensity of his love for us by even the slightest degree. The serpent's failure was abject. Our Savior's triumph was perfect. Because his most Sacred Heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us, Jesus was able to say "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" The radical asymmetry of his answer to the evil we did to him was the byproduct of his love for us. Love was the firewall that Jesus erected to stop the propagation of evil from us to him. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. By doing so, he shattered the cycle of evil. He stopped evil dead in its tracks. He did not permit evil to demote him from the level of God with a heart filled to the brim with love to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even the evil we did to him could budge it.

The engine that drives the degree of our confidence in Jesus upward to the highest level is the the battlefield where the serpent waged war against God. Whenever doubts about the nature of God enter your mind, take a tour of the battlefield using Jesus as your guide. The outcome of the battle is the firm foundation upon which we can rest our faith in God.

"Who are you, Jesus?" "Identify yourself!" "Friend or foe?". He is our friend not our foe. He is our almighty lover. His love for us is real - proven in battle - tested by the evil we did to him. Reality is reliable. We can depend on the reality of his love for us. His love for us is the rock on which the wise build their house . Whom shall we fear? Of whom shall we be afraid ? Will our almighty lover ever let us down? Will he ever disappoint?

Like dervishes, we whirl with the new exodus from holy place to holy place on the escape route through the Valley of Tears. Fewer and fewer, however, are whirling. Christianity is a spinning top winding down. The practice of Christianity has become a dull and perfunctory routine. The engine that moves us along the escape route is knocking and sputtering, starving for fuel . We have forgotten. Our clergy have failed us. We no longer know why we whirl. The fuel for our escape through the Valley of Tears is the truth. Yet, our fuel supply has been cut off. We have become strangers to the truth. The truth is no longer fueling our rationality. Without the truth, our escape is stuck in the doldrums. No progress is being made to the promised land. The sour truth is the engine that pushes us to the exit of godlessness. The sweet truth is the engine that pulls us to the entrance of paradise. Instead of testifying as witnesses to the truth, our clergy are trying to rule us as petty despots. Regulation, not revelation, has become their stock-in-trade. Morality is not the truth. Morality governs our behavior. However, it does not move the new exodus along the escape route. Only the truth does. To get the escape through the Valley of Tears going again, it is time to learn the difference between morality and the truth, both sweet and sour.

The Recurring Pattern

At Eden, the serpent induced Adam and Eve to abdicate paradise for godlessness. Surely, the serpent reasoned, their ingratitude would extinguish God's love for them. God, however, was uncooperative.

At Calvary, the serpent induced us to torture and kill the Son of God while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth. Surely, the serpent reasoned, this insult to the person of the Son of God would extinguish God's love for them. Again, God did not cooperate.

Surely, you notice a pattern?

What is the greatest threat to our salvation?

What is the greatest threat to our salvation? We have stopped exploring the battlefield on which Jesus engaged and triumphed over the serpent. When we stop exploring, we empty the Cross of Christ of its meaning . Our understanding of God becomes superficial. We become lightweights in our understanding of God. God becomes a stranger to us and nobody follows a stranger . As a result of the poverty of our understanding of God, the escape of the new Exodus through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death and into the Kingdom of God is sputtering and stalling. Fewer and fewer are going to Mass. No one is going to Confession. Marriages are falling apart. Mothers are murdering their babies. The priesthood is going extinct . The trend is downward and accelerating. The only sacrament holding its own is the sacrament of extreme unction and this is so only because the dying have little choice. The thermometer that gauges the temperature of the body of Christ is the practice of Christianity. By this measure, the patient is moribund.

God forgave the brutal insolence that his cretaures showed him in the Crucifixion. "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" . Why? Why was his answer to the evil that we did to him asymmetrical - radically asymmetrical? In the Crucifixion, we lit the fuse attached to the bomb of revenge, retaliation and retribution. The bomb, however, was a dud. It did not explode. What restrained the reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution? Discover the reason and you will understand the nature of God.

The Autobiography of God

The demonstration of divinity that took place on the battlefield where the serpent waged war against God is the the Autobiography of God . Have you read it? Jesus did not write the Autobiography of God in words. It is ironic but the Word of God wasn't an author. He was a carpenter . The carpenter built the Autobiography of God on and about the framework of the Cross of Christ.

Victory

What victory was won in the war that the serpent waged against God? Jesus refused to let the evil we did to him to drain his heart of his love for us. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. This is the good news of great joy. Our God is still head over heels in love with us despite the evil we did to him! Let's throw a party to celebrate his victory!

The Victory Party

Are we invited to Mass to celebrate his presence or are we invited to Mass to celebrate his victory?

The Mass is the party that the most Holy Trinity throw to celebrate the victory of the Son of God and the defeat of the serpent. A victory without a party to celebrate it is not much of a victory, right? It is trivial - downright lilliputian. A victory without a party is no different than a defeat. Parties do not follow defeats; they follow victories. What a victory must have been won that celebrations of it are repeated again and again, non-stop, through both time and space over the course of more than two thousand years and to the far ends of the earth. The continued celebration of victory parties attests to the fact that this was no ordinary victory. An earthquake took place and we are still feeling the aftershocks. The victory party, however is not thrown to celebrate his presence at the party. His presence at the party is not the victory. His presence at the party is incidental to his victory. He is the guest of honor. He is the hero who achieved the victory. It would not be much of a victory party without the hero being present, right? The priest celebrating the victory party is the master of ceremonies. The priest is not the star of the show. The Son of God is the star of the show. At the victory party are food, drink, music and speeches. It would not be much of a party without food, drink, music and speeches, right? We are the beneficiaries of his victory. He fought the serpent not for himself but for us and won. What exactly is the victory that we are celebrating at the Mass? With lash, thorns, nails and spear, the serpent tried, using us as his agents, to poke a hole in the most Sacred Heart of the Son of God to drain it of his love for us. The serpent failed. The evil we did to the Son of God did not extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in his most Sacred Heart or reduce it by even the slightest degree. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he emerged from the black hole of death still alive and still in love with us. This tells us with no ambiguity whatsoever that his love for us is immense in size, radical in scope and indestructible in duration. You are invited to the party. Come and celebrate with us!

The Knowledge that God loves us dearly was the seed that God sowed into our understanding

Exploring the battlefield where the serpent waged war against God with Jesus is the engine that drives the degree of our confidence in him upward to the highest level. Exploration of the battlefield enables us to say with the highest degree of confidence that God is our friend not our foe. He is our almighty lover. Knowing the benevolent nature of God makes it easier for us to trust in him. "What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God."  (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756)

Reality is reliable

His love for us is real. Reality is reliable. We can depend on the reality of his love for us. His love for us is the rock on which the wise build their house . Whom shall we fear? Of whom shall we be afraid ? Will our almighty lover ever let us down? Will he ever disappoint? Doesn't he have our backs? His love for us is the lifeline that God throws to us who are tossed overboard in the stormy sea after our ship is sunk. Grab hold. Hold tight. Never release your grip. The Love Note is the good news of great joy.

Our Trysting Place

Do you have a favorite place to which you go to spend time with God? Surely you do. My favorite place is the battlefield where the serpent waged war against God. It is a unique, well-defined location. It starts at the Crucifixion on the near side of his bloody wounds, proceeds through them and ends at the Resurrection on the far side of his bloody wounds. The battlefield is important. Why? On the battlefield, Jesus won his salvific victory over the serpent. The battlefield is the treasure of Christianity - a rich vein of precious treasure. By making the journey with Jesus across the battlefield, we perfect our understanding of God. A high fidelity representation of the reality of God is found on the battlefield.

The Cost of the Battle

The war that the serpent waged against God started at the Crucifixion on the near side of his bloody wounds, proceeded through his bloody wounds and ended at the Resurrection on the far side of his bloody wounds. The cost of the battle was exorbitant. Yet, Jesus did not pass the hat amongst us to help him to defray the cost of the battle. He paid the exorbitant cost himself out of his own pocket. Moreover, He paid the exorbitant cost not from his unlimited divine resources. He paid the exorbitant cost from his limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else . Some say that the Son of God ovepaid - that he was ripped off. We were not worth the payment. He, on the other hand, was willing to pay the price. He thought that we were worth it . Rejoice and be glad! We are worth much to our God! He would not have paid an exorbitant cost of the battle if we were not worth it.

What is Christianity?

The answer to the question, 'Who is God?' is the treasure of Christianity. Why? The answer enriches our understanding of God. A high fidelity, first class understanding of God is the hub from which the sweetness of paradise radiates to weave its way inextricably into the very fabric of life itself. It is the prize won by the children of Adam and Eve who explore the bloody wounds of God. At and about his bloody wounds, the treasure of Christianity is buried . Christianity is a treasure map for treasure hunters engaged in the hunt for the buried treasure . The mark that the most Holy Trinity applied to the treasure map to identify the location of the treasure was the Cross. The Cross marks the spot of the treasure. Grab a shovel. Dig it up. Make yourselves rich. .

Why am I a Christian? I want a piece of the treasure. I want to make myself rich . His power built paradise for us. His love for us, however, makes paradise sweet. Power demands respect. But love begets love . "What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God."  (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756) Rational creatures seek the sweetness of paradise [and flee the sourness of godlessness]. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise.

Buckets of blood spilled through the wounds that our evil opened in his body but not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us followed the blood through the wounds and out of his body. His most Sacred Heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. Because his most Sacred Heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us, Jesus was able to say "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" .

Unconditional love

God has given their love to us. God places no limitations on the gift. It is not contingent. There are no strings attached to it. No quid pro quo is expected of us. It is not a loan that we must pay back with interest. A gift does not put us in God's debt. It is not one side of a bargain for which God expects good and valuable consideration in return. There is no fine print. There are no qualifications, conditions or exceptions. It is a gift. It is a gift from God to us. A gift is free. We do nothing to earn it. The proper response to a gift is gratitude. A thank you may be appropriate.

The Earthquake

In the violent collision between Jesus, our Savior, and the evil we did to him, incandescent truths emerged that illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. The violent collision was bigger than the Big Bang and larger than CERN's Large Hadron Collider . Voilà! A demonstration of divinity was staged for us in the violence of the collision . In the violence of the collision, the apocalypse took place - we were given the definitive picture of God - a high fidelity representation of the reality of God.

How to Transform a Sinner into a Saint

To transform a sinner into a saint, there is no shortcut - there is no easy way - there is no substitute for falling in love with God. When we fall in love with God, we change our behavior to please our lover. For us, it is seldom love at first sight. Rarely is love instantaneous. We need to be wooed. Our God needs to court us. We often play hard to get. God, however, has loved us since the day he he made us . In fact, to express his love for us, God sent us a love note . The love note that God sent to us is the greatest of the holy places . God beguiles us at the holy places that define the escape route of the new exodus. The only way to fall in love with God is by frolicking with him at the holy places. The holy places are where lovers meet - us and our God. No frolicking; no falling in love; no transformation.

The Bush We Burnt in the Crucifixion is Jesus

Jesus is the bush that we burnt in the Crucifixion . Neither he nor his love for us were consumed by the flames. What rose from the dead? He did and his love for us. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. Its survival is the guarantee that his love for us is genuine. If his love for us were counterfeit, his love for us would have faded as we tortured him and would have died when we killed him. But it did not. Love emerged from the ashes.

Jesus paid us a Visit to Demonstrate How to Disrupt and destroy the Cycle of Evil

Jesus left heaven for earth to address the never ending cycle of evil that besieges us as we pass through the Valley of Tears. He did not just tell us how to disrupt and destroy the cycle of evil. He demonstrated how to do it. He became the God with the bloody wounds to show us how to bypass the entrance into the madness of evil.

Reciprocity

Our survival is governed solely by a simple but fundamental principle. Humanity in every place and in every age and of every religion is subject to its command. No exceptions. Only by including God in our lives do we live and only by excluding God from our lives do we die. To include God in our lives in the hereafter, we must include God in our lives now! By excluding God from our lives now, we exclude God from our lives in the hereafter. Take an interest in God and God will take an interest in you. Include God in your life and God will include you in theirs. Ignore your God and your God will ignore you.

The Only Pilgrimage that matters

The only pilgrimage that matters is the pilgrimage that starts at the Crucifixion on the near side of his bloody wounds, proceeds through them, and ends at the Resurrection on their far side. Why? On this pilgrimage we discover the good news of great joy.

What is the good news of great joy?

The Good News of Great Joy is this: His love for us survived the evil we did to him. Its survival guaranteed its genuineness. If his love for us were counterfeit, it would have faded as we tortured him and died when we killed him. But it did not. It survived. The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even the evil we did to him could budge it. We learn the Good News of Great Joy by travelling the trail of truth that starts at the Crucifixion on the near side of his bloody wounds, proceeds through them, and ends at the Resurrection on their far side.

What is the greatest threat to our salvation?

What is the greatest threat to our salvation? We do not have the answer to the question, 'Who is God?'. The answer to the question, 'Who is God?' is the treasure of Christianity. Yet, no one knows where the treasure of Christianity is buried. Nobody is pointing to a particular location that we can explore in order to discover the answer for ourselves. Nobody is saying, 'Look here', 'Look here' for the answer to the question, 'Who is God?'. Even if we desired to dig up the buried treasure , we have no clue whatsoever about where to put the shovel.

The greatest threat to our salvation is that our understanding of God is superficial. We are lightweights in our understanding of God. God is a stranger to us and nobody follows a stranger . We have emptied the Cross of Christ of its meaning (1 Corinthians 1:17). We have stopped making pilgrimage on the trail of truth that starts at the Crucifixion on the near side of his bloody wounds, proceeds through them, and ends at the Resurrection on their far side. On the trail of truth, we learn the Good News of Great Joy. By avoiding the trail of truth, we no longer hear the Good News of Great Joy. As a result of the poverty of our understanding of God, the escape of the new Exodus through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death and into the Kingdom of God is sputtering and stalling. Fewer and fewer are going to Mass. No one is going to Confession. Marriages are falling apart. Mothers are murdering their babies. The priesthood is going extinct . The trend is downward and accelerating. The only sacrament holding its own is the sacrament of extreme unction and this is so only because the dying have little choice. The thermometer that gauges the temperature of the body of Christ is the practice of Christianity. By this measure, the patient is moribund.

God is the indissoluble marriage between power and love - absolute and perfect. Many are comfortable with the fact that God is power. Few, however, appreciate the fact that God is love. Therefore, the goal of evangelization is to bring the discovery that God is head over heals in love with us out of the shadows and into the limelight. The discovery that God is head over heals in love with us, however, is hidden in the shadows of an eclipse. Nothing grows in the shadows. In the shadows, the growth of our knowledge that God is head over heals in love with us is stunted. Unfortunately, what casts the biggest and darkest shadow is Christianity itself - other, less important aspects of Christianity. Christians are killing Christianity by elbowing the discovery that God is head over heals in love with us out of the conversation. Christians have put the discovery that God is head over heals in love with us on the sidelines. They have benched it in favor of other, lesser important Christian things. We are putting the candle under the bushel basket

Why is it important that we bring the discovery that God is head over heals in love with us out of the shadows and into the limelight? Transformation.

Discovering that our God is head over heals in love with us transforms us. This discovery is the match that ignites the fire of love in our hearts . Love is communicable. It is contagious. Love's arrows are arrows of fire, flames of the divine . Love begets love. "We love him, because he first loved us." . God's love for us is the yeast of divinity. The God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands put himself into the hands of the mud to leaven the mud with the yeast of divinity . To transform sinners into saints, there is no shortcut - there is no easy way - there is no substitute for getting us to fall in love with God. When we fall in love with God, we change our behavior to please our lover. Falling in love with God is the catalyst of conversion.

Therefore, what are we doing to transform lightweights in the understanding of God into heavyweights? What are we doing to transform God the stranger into God the friend - us into lovers of God? What are we doing to discover the right answer to the question, 'Who is God?'. More importantly, where are we looking for the right answer? Please, don't think that you are helping us by giving us the answer that you discovered. Your discoveries are not our discoveries. Show us where to look - where to cast our nets - so we can discover for ourselves the answer to the question, 'Who is God?'.

On what basis does the answer to the question, 'Who is God?', rest?

God is a two-sided coin. On one side is power. On the other side is love. What is the basis that supports the conclusion that God is the indissoluble marriage of power and love - absolute and perfect?

The Trail of Discovery

For more than two thousand years, the Church has followed many trails to explore the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God. Surely, during its exploration, the Church has discovered a thing or two about the nature of God. The Church's discoveries, however, are not our discoveries. The scientific method holds that by exploring the same trails that the Church explored, the children of Adam and Eve ought to make the same discoveries. This is verification of the discovery by replication of the discovery. A discovery without a trail is an invention - speculation - nothing more than a guess. We are persuaded about a discovery by its trail. If the Church does not show us the trails by which it arrived at its discoveries, it is best to be dubious about the discoveries. The Church fails us when it just shows us its discoveries and not the trails it followed to arrive at its discoveries. The importance of showing us the trails cannot be overestimated. In this day and age, we read, write ank think for ourselves. We are no longer illiterate. Claims of authority no lomger impress us. We require proof. When a Church attempts to shove doctrine down the throats of the children of Adam and Eve against their wills by dint of authority, their gag reflex is triggered. They regurgitate it. When the children of Adam and Eve discover the doctrine for themselves by dint of their own exploration, they swallow it hook, line and sinker. Same doctrine; different methodology; different result.

Have you made the discovery that God is love? I have. But my discovery is not your discovery. My discovery is of little to no use to you. The most I can do for you is to show you the trail I followed to make the discovery. If you follow the same trail, the likelihood is high that you will make the same discovery for yourself as I did. Here is the trail. Start at the Crucifixion on the near side of the bloody wounds that our evil opened in his body, pass through his bloody wounds and proceed to the Resurrection on their far side. Don't get sidetracked. Don't take a detour. Don't deviate. Procced on the trail.

Have you entered and explored the inner workings of the mind of God? Have you taken part in the adventure? The discoveries we make during our exploration illuminate the darkness of our understanding of God. No exploration; no discoveries; no illumination; darkness.

A Showing of love not a Telling

How do we show them - not just tell them - that the strength of our love for them is not small, not feeble, and not capricious? How do we prove to them that our love for them is immense in size, indestructible in duration and radical in scope?

1) We send them a love note .

2) We let them torture and kill the love note so the he suffers and dies.

3) We continue to love them nonetheless. We emerge from the dead stlll alive and still in love with them. By emerging from the dead still alive, we give them indisputable proof of our power. Nobody emerges from the dead. Jesus did. By emerging from the dead still in love with them, we reveal to them something more significant about divinity than power. We show them indisputable proof that their conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is also love - a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love .

If this does not convince them, nothing will.  

If the love note were counterfeit, His love for us would have faded as we tortured him and would have died when we killed him. But it did not. It survived. The survival of his love for us is the seal of its genuineness. He emerged from the evil baptism into which we immersed him still alive and still in love with us. The dial that controls his love for sinners is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Genuine love is the sweetness of paradise. God's power made paradise for us. God's love for us, however, makes paradise sweet. Power begets respect but love begets love. God's love for us is the honey that draws the bees back home to the hive.  

The business of Christianity is seminal. Christianity plants the seeds of love into the hearts of the children of Adam and Eve. The seeds turn into trees so that, in the orchards of Christianity - the new Gardens of Eden, many can enjoy the fruits of love .

Life is but an infinitesimally thin slice of time compared to the thickness of eternity. Moreover, it gets thinner and thinner with the passage of time. In other words, it won’t be long now before we shall arrive at the Red Sea of Death, the worst and the last of our crosses . Pray tell, how do you figure you will cross it? What is your plan? Surely, you have formulated a plan? Before God will help you, he will ask you for the details about how you helped your neighbors.

Jesus is a pocket of safety in a hostile world .

God is love . Love is ensconced on the throne at the center of the Kingdom of God. Where is the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom of God is located within us . God endowed us with the capacity to love. We are vessels that can hold love. In this way, God made us in his own image and likeness . The greater the love that we hold in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God. Love deifies us. As the fidelity of our resemblance to God grows, we become children of God . We discover the kingdom of God by filling our hearts to the brim with love, . "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" . If ye have love one to another, you have entered the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Medieval methodology versus modern methodology

The Church has tried to jam doctrine down our throats by dint of omnipotence. This is a medieval not a modern tactic and it arises from a time when authority and hierarchy were rigid. Before we learned to read, write and think for ourselves,  we docilely swallowed whatever they jammed down our throats. Times have changed. We have changed.In modernity, we have learned to read, write and think for ourselves. Now, the Church's tactic triggers our gag reflex. We regurgitate it.  The command - obedience paradigm no longer works. A new approach, therefore, is needed. The appeal must be to our rationality. We must be persuaded.  This dismays the medievalists. It discombobulates them. It makes them apoplectic. The modernists, however, are up for the challenge. In fact, they think an appeal to our rationality is the best way to go.

Revelation versus Regulation

The homily of a cleric can be rated as 'up', 'down' or' mixed'. A homily is rated 'up' when a homilist looks up at God to enter and explore the inner workings of the mind of God. Only a cleric who has entered and explored the inner workings of the mind of God can speak about what he has discovered. Only then can he say something that illuminates the darkness of our understanding of God. Furthermore, it is not enough to assert conclusions about God. It is necessary to reveal the foundation on which the conclusions rest. A conclusion without a foundation is worthless. The proposition that God is love, while true, is a crippled proposition because it does not have legs to support its truth and opposes its falsehood. Without legs, a crippled proposition is unpersausive. A homily is rated 'down' when a homilist looks down at us and tells us how to behave. A homilist who delivers a 'down' homily tries to promote it by stamping the endorsement of the Church or God or both onto it. Most homilies are 'down' homilies. Most clerics aspire to be kings who rule us. Few homilies are 'up' homilies. Few clerics, apparently, have entered and explored the inner workings of the mind of God and become witnesses to the truth about God. It seems that, as a general rule, clerics prefer to talk about us rather than to talk about God. The better homily, however, is the 'up' homily.

Religion is a Hunt not a Handout

The job of the Church is to introduce the children of Adam and Eve to the great questions of life and to point out the location of the answers - to suggest to them where they ought to cast their nets . The job of the children of Adam and Eve is to search the location for the answers - to find the Easter eggs. An Easter Egg hunt is ruined when the Easter Eggs are handed out to the participants. Therefore, respect the hunt. Let the children of Adam and Eve discover the treasure for themselves. Don't rob them of the thrill of discovery. What is the methodology for successful evangelization? Raise the proper questions. Point out the source material where the answers can be found. Let us discover the answers for ourselves. This is the methodology of successful evangelization.

 

We call the hunt for God religion. In reality, however, it is God who is hunting for us. God and his posse comitatus have sallied forth through the gates of Heaven, across the Red Sea of Death and into the Valley of Tears in hot pursuit of each of us . The rescue mission is afoot. Help is on its way. In fact, help is here. The Kingdom of God is at hand . Grab it! Seize it! Hold tight to it! Through thick and thin, refuse to let go of it!

God is love . And the location of the Kingdom of God is within you . God endowed us with the capacity to love. We are vessels that can hold love. In this way, God made us in his own image and likeness . The greater the love that we hold in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God. Love deifies us. As the fidelity of our resemblance to God grows, we become children of God . We discover the kingdom of God by filling our hearts to the brim with love, . "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" . If ye have love one to another, you have entered the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Communities of love

Let us establish on the earth communties the hearts of whose members are filled to the brim with love: families, marriages, tribe, team and Church.

Love begets love . "What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God."  (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756). The act of reproduction is a powerful allegory that the genius of God embedded into life itself to inform us that God is trying to inseminate us with the knowledge of God. God wants to knock us up - to make us pregnant with the knowledge of God . At the climax of the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, the Word of God sowed the knowledge of God into the womb of humanity . We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He arose from the dead still alive and still in love with us. The climax of the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection occurred when Jesus emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive is the indisputable proof of his power. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than power. It showed us the indisputable proof that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is also love - a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love . His love for us did not fade as we tortured him and did not die when we killed him. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even the evil we did to him could budge it. The God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands put himself into the hands of the mud to leaven the mud with the yeast of divinity. The yeast of divinity is love .

Initially, the size and scope of our love is small. It is limited to ourselves (selfish love). We begin at absolute selfishness. God, however, inserted structures into our lives that encourage us to increase the size and expand the scope of our love (sacrificial love). Family is the first love expanding structure. Inhabiting a family, we learn to increase the size and expand the scope of our sacrificial love to family members. In a family, we experience a reciprocity of sacrificial love. God inserts various other love expanding structures into our lives such as marriage, team, tribe and Church. By experiencing reciprocity of sacrificial love in these and other love expanding structures, we approach perfection in love.

Reality is reliable

His love for us is real. Reality is reliable. We can depend on the reality of his love for us. His love for us is the rock on which the wise build their house . Whom shall we fear? Of whom shall we be afraid ? Will our almighty lover ever let us down? Will he ever disappoint? Doesn't he have our backs? His love for us is the lifeline that God throws to us who are tossed overboard in the stormy sea after our ship is sunk. Grab hold. Hold tight. Never release your grip. This is the good news of great joy.

The Sweetness of Paradise

His power built paradise for us. His love for us, however, makes paradise sweet. Power demands respect. But love begets love . "What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God."  (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756) Jesus is the sweetness of paradise. Rational people seek the sweetness of paradise [and flee the sourness of godlessness]. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise. Have you had a foretaste of the sweetness of paradise?

His Holy Answer to our Unholy Interrogation

The Crucifixion was the sharp question we shouted at Jesus. We shouted our sharp question at him with lash, thorns, nails and spear. "Who are you, Jesus?" "Identify yourself!" "Friend or foe?" His bloody wounds were question marks. They marked a mystery. 'What would be his response to the evil we did to him?' At the time that our evil opened bloody wounds in his body, the reasonable expectation was that the evil we did to him would trigger his reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution. "An eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" . Thankfully, he did not respond in kind . He changed the tone of the conversation . "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" . The Resurrection was the gentle answer he whispered in reply to our shouted question. "Friend, not foe" was his gentle answer. "I am your almighty lover" .

His answer to the evil we did to him was asymmetric - radically asymmetric. What put the brakes on a symmetric answer to the evil we did to him? What inhibited God from launching a campaign against us of "shock and awe" ? His love for us limited his answer. He restrained himself to publish to us - to open our eyes to - the nature of God. He wanted us to possess definitive, irrefutable proof. So, he illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany.

We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He arose from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive is the indisputable proof of his power. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than power. It showed us the indisputable proof that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is also love - a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love . His love for us did not fade as we tortured him and did not die when we killed him. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even the evil we did to him could budge it.

The connection between the body and the blood of the most Holy Eucharist is his wounds. His wounds connect his body and his blood. The escape of the new Exodus passes through his bloody wounds. He is the way . "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me." . Only by passing through his bloody wounds do we illuminate the darkness of our understanding of God. Where is the good news of great joy found? The good news of great joy is found when we impose the yoke of question and answer on the events that took place on both sides of his bloody wounds - when we recognize that a conversation took place through his bloody wounds, the most apocalyptic conversation that has ever taken place between us and our God since Moses and God conversed at the burning bush on Mount Horeb ! By his bloody wounds we are healed . In the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, the Autobiography of God was written - the Self-Portrait of God was painted. Are you privy to the conversation?

His Bloody Wounds are a Telescope through which We Catch a Glimpse of Heaven from Here on Earth

His bloody wounds are the telescope that our evil installed in his body. When we look through the telescope of his bloody wounds from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, we catch a glimpse of heaven from here on earth. The nearsighted only look at the Crucifixion on the near side of his bloody wounds. The farsighted look through his bloody wounds from the Crucifixion on their near side to the Resurrection on their far side. Through his bloody wounds, the relationship of question and answer weaves its way to tie the Crucifixion and the Resurrection into a conversation - the most apocalyptic conversation that the children of Adam and Eve have ever had with their God. Are you privy to the conversation? In the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, the Autobiography of God is written. Have you read it? Have you read the Autobiography of God?

Testing Your Theory about God against the Data about God

Can you articulate your theory about God? Do you even have one? Does your Church have one and has it shared its theory with you? Upom what is your theory based? What is the data that supports your theory? What data contradicts it? Be empirical. Demand an evidence based, data driven theory of God. Bring the scientific method into your religion. Test your theory about God against the data about God. How does your theory stack up against the data? Can your theory withstand the test?

Where do we find the best data about God? Where is the treasure of Christianity buried? Christianity is a treasure map for treasure hunters engaged in a treasure hunt. On the treasure map, a cross marks the spot of the treasure . Good, rock solid data about God is the treasure of Christianity. Good, rock solid data enriches our understanding of God. Let us use the map to find the treasure. Grab a shovel and let us dig up the treasure of Christianity together to make ourselves rich .

The best data about God are the incandescent truths that emerged from the violent collsion between Jesus, the Son of God, and the evil we did to him. The incandescent truths illuminate the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. In the "byproducts" of the violent collision, the God particle is found . The violent collision was bigger than the Big Bang and larger than CERN's Large Hadron Collider . In the violence of the collision, the apocalypse took place - we are given the definitive picture of God - a high fidelity representation of the reality of God. The incandescent truths that emerged from the violent collision put the "similitude" of God before us to behold. The veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom and Jesus stepped through the rent in the veil to introduce God to us .

The evil we did to him punctuated his body with bloody wounds. His bloody wounds were question marks. They marked a mystery about God. 'How would Jesus respond to the evil we did to him?' At the time that our evil opened bloody wounds in his body, his response was a mystery to us. The reasonable expectation was that the evil we did to him would trigger his reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution. "An eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" . Thankfully, he did not respond in kind . He changed the tone of the conversation . His response to the evil we did to him was asymmetric - radically asymmetric. Despite the evil we did to him, he continued to love us nonethelsss. Wow! Divinity is not just power. Divinity is also love - a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love . His love for us did not fade as we tortured him and did not die when we killed him. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Our evil did not even budge it! What sin is worse than torturing and killing the Son of God while he was human, alive, tender and our guest upon the earth? Yet, even this most terrible of sins did not transmogrify our God from our friend into our enemy. It did not poke a hole in his heart and empty it of his love for us. Buckets of blood passed through the wounds our evil opened in his body, but not a drop of his love for us - not a drop - spilled through his bloody wounds. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us.

Truly, the violent collsion between Jesus, the Son of God, and the evil we did to him was the apocalypse. From it, we learned the truth about our God.

 

The best basis for the answer to the question, "Who is God?", is the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Hence, the best answer is derived therefrom.

In order to apply a solution, it is first necessary to identify the problem. To answer a question, it is first necessary to hear the question. To apply a treatment, it is first necessary to diagnose the pathology. What is the problem that Chrisitanity is trying to solve? What is the solution that Christianity offers to solve the problem? Hint: It has something to do with the passage of the new Exodus through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death, the worst and the last of our crosses , through the gates of heaven, and into the kingdom of God, the promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey .

How the Serpent Exploits our Misdiagnosis of our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears to Broadcast virulent anti-God propaganda

The many and merciless crosses that besiege us as we pass through the Valley of Tears have tongues as well as teeth. Their tongues are as sharp as their teeth. The sharp tongues of our crosses taunt us, saying "Despair! Abandon hope! You are alone and forsaken. Nobody is coming to rescue you. Where is your Savior now ?" While we are nailed alive to our crosses as a live worm is impaled on a sharp hook and no Savior is in sight, it is a struggle to believe that God exists and that he loves us. "Isn't it foolish to place our trust in a Savior who doesn't save - a Redeemer who doesn't redeem - a false God who does not rescue us." It is akin to a warrior trusting in a weapon that does not work in the exigencies of war.

The serpent is subtle indeed . The serpent is making this argument to us. A loving God would rescue us immediately from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears. He would either eliminate our crosses or extricate us from the Valley of Tears and return us to paradise immediately. He would not insert a delay between the the gift of life and the gift of paradise. Delivery of the two gifts would be simultaneous not sequential and would not be interrupted by a delay during which we stew for a lifetime in the toxic truth of the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of brine. A truly loving God would not lollygag while our crosses are chewing us up into bits and pieces. He would forthwith intervene. The fact that God does not rescue us immediately is persuasive evidence that strongly suggests that God does not exist or that God does not love us. The failure of God to rescue us immediately from the teeth of our crosses is a powerful engines of doubt about both the existence and the love of God.

 

What is a Christian? What is Christianity?

If you bypass the heart - if you circumvent it, you are not doing Christianity. Christianity is a religion that passes through the heart on its way to God. If it doesn't pass through the heart, it is not Christianity. It is an impostor. Beware of impostors. The test of genuine Christianity is the passage through the heart.

Behavior is the fruit of the heart. The heart is the engine of our behavior. A heart empty of love produces different behavior than a heart filled with love . To rule our behavior, fill our empty hearts with love . When we bypass the heart and try to regulate our behavior by the promulgation of laws, we fail. Why? Our faculty of obedience is broken. We have known that it is broken since the age of Adam and Eve. The heart sits on a precipice that marks the limit of authority. We can approach the precipice but can go no farther. When we try to go beyond the heart to work directly on behavior, we fall off the precipice and into the sea like Gadarene swine . Our behavior is ruled indirectly through the heart . Better to treat the pathology that produces our symptoms than just the symptoms themselves. Take care of the causes in order to cure the effects.

The Source of Our Certainity that God Loves Us

How do we know that God loves us? How can we be sure? Our certainty arises from his asymmetric reaction to the evil we did to him. Behold the bloody wounds that our evil opened in his body! We behold them now whenever a priest holds up the body and blood of Jesus during the sacrifice of a Mass. His bloody wounds are question marks. They mark a mystery. 'How will our God respond to the evil we did to him?' At the time that our evil opened bloody wounds in his body, the response that they would trigger from him was a mystery to us. The reasonable expectation was that the evil we did to him would trigger his reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution. "An eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" . Thankfully, he did not respond in kind . He changed the tone of the conversation . His love for us made his reaction to the evil we did to him asymmetric - radically asymmetric. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He and his love for us survived the evil we did to him. Wow! He arose from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive is the indisputable proof of his power. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than power. It showed us the indisputable proof that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is also love - a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love . His love for us did not fade as we tortured him and did not die when we killed him. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. The dial that controlls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even the evil we did to him could budge it. God is the indissoluble marriage of power and love - absolute and perfect. His power built paradise for us. However, his love for us makes paradise sweet. His power demands respect. His love, however, demands love.

Love is the ladder on which we climb out of the hostile truth of the Valley of Tears and into Paradise.

The Cross of Christ is the apotheosis of love.

Rally 'round the Cross!

The Cross of Christ is the flag that the most Holy Trinity planted in the middle of his passion, death and resurrection to rally Christians to the Son of God. Rally 'round the Cross!

To catch a glimpse of the better, brighter and more beautiful world outside and beyond the walls of the crosses that besiege us in the Valley of Tears , climb the tree as Zacchaeus climbed the tree . Pull your feet out of the toxic quagmire of the Valley of Tears, shake off the mud and climb the tree. The Cross of Christ is the tree. It is the tree of life .

Reality does not exist in a single layer. Reality has depth. Its depth comes from the existence of multiple layers - a stack of layers. Furthermore, different stories are unfolding on different layers of reality. Sometimes multiple layers of reality are connected; sometimes they are not. The ability to see the connection and the disconnection between layers of reality is a valuable gift. Where is your focus? Are you focused on the natural world or the supernatural world? Did Jesus pay us a visit to make a difference in the natural world, in the supernatural world or in both?

The Technology Jesus Transported from Heaven to Earth

Jesus transported from heaven to earth the technology that enables us to pick up and carry our crosses. Furthermore, the Son of God demonstrated for us that the technology works by using it himself. He donned the jet pack and flew to show us that we, too, can fly. What a crazy daredevil this Jesus was. Jesus hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from our crosses. When you hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung, love as Jesus loved. Hold tight and refuse to let go of love, sufferings invincible foe.

 

How is a Christian made?

Love begets love.

The goal of Jesus is to get each of us to fall in love with him. Jesus has loved us since the day he he made us He is head over heals in love with us. He wants us to fall in love with him. Jesus is a steamroller in pursuit of his goal. Anything that gets in the way of his goal is rolled over. If you are not helping him achieve his goal, get out of his way.

Do you frolic with God ? God established holy places to define the escape route that takes the new exodus through the hostile truth of the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death, the worst and the last of our crosses and into the kingdom of God, the promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey . He defined the escape route with holy places, made a map of them, established a Church and entrusted the map to the Church. He gave the Church the job of facilitating our escape - not the job of frustrating it, filtering it or fouling it up. The escape is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect. The Church has the map and knows the way! Only at the holy places do we engage the Sacred Truth and experience personal intimacy with our God. A holy place is where lovers meet - us and our God . At the holy places, we rendezvous and frolic with our God. The holy places are oasis of paradise that decorate the hostile desert of godlessness like the jewels of a beautiful necklace. They form the needle of a compass that always points in the direction of God. Only by moving from holy place to holy place can we be sure that we are heading in the right direction. Therefore, make haste to the holy places. Make haste! Sit at his feet . Rest your head on his bosom . Keep God company. Put yourselves in His presence . Frolic with him. Be transformed!

Our God paid us a visit at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet known as the Middle East more than two thousand years ago. Now, our God invites us to visit him. Visits take place at the holy places that define the escape route of the new exodus. At the holy places we enter the presence of the God who loves us. Love begets love.

The Monopoly of Christianity

Christianity is God's unique approach to changing our behavior. The methodology is proprietary to Christianity. Christianity has a monopoly over it.

Let us juxtapose Christianity's approach to changing our behavior against the approach of a government. The methodology of governments is quite different than Christianity's. It is based on the raw exercise of power - overwhelming omnipotence vis-a-vis the individual. Governments legislate and exercise police powers. Governments promulgate laws to change our behavior. “We command; you obey.” is their paradigm.

To change our behavior, what is the methodology of Christianity? What is the approach of Jesus Christ?

In the eyes of Jesus, the path to a change in our behavior is through our hearts. Jesus is not interested in making godlessness, through legislation, into a better, more hospitable place for godless people to live. Jesus wants to turn godless people into people of God. Jesus does not work from the ‘outside in’. Jesus works from the ‘inside out’ (Matthew 15: 11-20). The kingdom of God is within us (Luke 17:20-21) “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35 ). “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26). Harden not your hearts (Hebrews 3:15). Jesus wants us to fill our hearts to the brim with love - a love that overflows the brim not like the dewfall but like the gushing waterfall. The perfect morality is a morality that fills the heart to the brim with love. You cannot get a better morality than a heart filled to the brim with love (1 Corinthians 13). We are born in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). God endowed us with the capacity to love. The greater the love that we hold in our hearts, the greater is the fidelity of our resemblance to God. When we fill our hearts with love, we become a high fidelity representation of the reality of God (Matthew 7:16-20) (Numbers 12:8). We become the leaven of the kingdom of God (Matthew 13:33). We become agents of God - ambassadors from God to our neighbors.

Regulating our behavior through the promulgation of laws does not change our hearts. Changing our hearts regulates our behavior.

To change our behavior, Jesus wants us to fall in love with him (Matthew 22:36-40). WHEN WE FALL IN LOVE WITH GOD, WE CHANGE OUR BEHAVIOR TO PLEASE OUR LOVER. Getting us to fall in love with God is the methodology of Jesus.

Why, therefore, do so many subscribers to Christianity try to take a shortcut to change our behavior that bypasses the heart? Why do so many mimic governments and adopt their methodology? It is easier to issue legislation to change our behavior. It is harder - much harder - to change our hearts. Many subscribers to Christianity prefer the easy way to the hard way. They prefer the wide gate and the broad road that leads to a change in our behavior (Matthew 7:13-14). They have no clue about how to proceed through the narrow gate - the gate that Jesus recommended.

How does Jesus get us to fall in love with him?

Exposure to God gets us to fall in love with him . Introduction, courtship and wooing is the process. We “waste” time with him. Jesus invites us to rendezvous with him and frolic with him at the holy places that he established to define the escape route that takes the new exodus through the hostile truth of the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death, the worst and the last of our crosses (1 Corinthians 15:26) and into the promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 13:27). Only at the holy places do we engage the Sacred Truth and experience personal intimacy with our God. The holy places are where lovers meet - us and our God (Jeremiah 31:3). The holy places are oasis of paradise that decorate the hostile desert of godlessness like the jewels of a beautiful necklace. They form the needle of a compass that always points in the direction of God. Only by moving from holy place to holy place can we be sure that we are heading in the right direction. Therefore, make haste to the holy places. Make haste! Sit at his feet (Luke 10:38-42). Rest your head on his bosom (John 13:23). Keep God company. Put yourselves in His presence (Matthew 6:33). Frolic with him. Be transformed!

No frolicking with God at the Holy Places; no falling in love with him; no transformation.

Promulgating laws to regulate our behavior is not the methodology of Christianity. If you want to promulgate laws, join a government. If you want to do Christianity, put the children of Adam and Eve into a position where they can have a close encounter with our God. Our job, the job of the Church, is to transform settlers who are roosting in the Valley of Tears into pilgrims passing through it - to get them to the holy places where the children of Adam and Eve are exposed to God. The job of Jesus is to change our behavior through love - to transform sinners into saints. The process of salvation goes off the rails when the Church arrogates to itself the job that God reserved for himself and neglects the job God delegated to it.

The escape of the new exodus from godlessness to paradise is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect (Matthew 23:13). "Nobody left behind" is the motto of the escape of the new exodus. "Neither saint nor sinner Luke 15." Therefore, our job - the job of the Church - is to facilitate the escape not to frustrate it, filter it or foul it up Isaiah 57:14 .

An unhealthy tension exists in the Church today between two hostile camps: 1) the fissionists and 2) the fusionists. The fissionists want to tear things down. The fusionists want to build things up. They want to plant the seed of love in the hearts of the children of Adam and Eve and reap the fruit of love. The fissionist, on the other hand, bypass the heart. They do not care whether the heart is charged or discharged with love.

Portable Holy Places

Take God with you. Abandon him not for a moment. Meditate on his law day and night . Pray without ceasing . Take no vacation from God. Frolic with God without interruption. Nature abhors a vacuum . The void within you will be filled. Fill it with God before it gets filled with junk. A portable Holy Place is your shield against sin. It protects the pilgrim who has picked up the roots he had sunk deep into the toxic soil of the Valley of Tears and is gingerly passing through it.

Each of us is different. In the body of Christ are a variety of different organs. Every organ is not a heart . In the body of Christ we see unity not uniformity . Though different, each organ of the body of Christ cooperates. The diversity of organs does not stop the body of Christ from working. In fact, diversity is necessary for the body of Christ to work properly. We are brothers and sisters of the escape, companions in the new exodus. We are marching through the Valley of Tears hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm together as one family in a common enterprise to the rhythmic beat of the loving heart of our living God!

The Sweetness of Paradise

The Son of God paid us a visit at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago to put on a demonstration of God. Jesus did not just tell us about God in words. God is a chatterbox. However, if you expect God to use words, you will be disappointed. The language of God is reality. The meaning of words is fickle. The meaning of reality is not. God is the artist who painted the masterpiece of reality on the canvas of our rationality in the pigments of truth. He showed us God. The demonstration eliminated any and all ambiguity about the nature of God. The Son of God could have picked any venue to put on his demonstration of God. So his choice of venues was surprising - radically unexpected. The venue that he picked was the platform of the Cross. From the platform of the Cross, Jesus revealed the sweetness of paradise to the inhabitants of the Valley of Tears. He diluted the bitterness of the Valley of Tears as sugar cubes dilute the bitterness of a cup of coffee. What is the sweetness of paradise? We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He arose from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive is the indisputable proof of his power. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than power. It showed us the indisputable proof that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is also love - a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love . His love for us did not fade as we tortured him and did not die when we killed him. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. The dial that controlls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even the evil we did to him could budge it. God is the indissoluble marriage of power and love - absolute and perfect. His power built paradise for us. However, his love for us makes paradise sweet. His power demands respect. His love, however, demands love.

Frolicking with God

Transformation is a process. It is the fruit of frolicking with God. In the process of frolicking with God, the children of Adam and Eve learn to govern themselves. We don't transform ourselves. The Church does not transform us. Only God transforms us and this takes place as we frolic with him. The Church fails when it arrogates to itself the role of God - when it usurps God - when it elbows God out of the conversation - when it deposes God - when it tries to take a shortcut to transformation by substituting the methodology of regulation for the process of frolicking with God. There is no substitute for going through the process of frolicking with God. Nothing else works. The Church is the usher who shows us to our seats. God, however, is the star of the show. The Church goes off the rails when it starts to think that it is the star of the show - when it thinks it is a king who rules us and abandons its role as witness who testifies to the truth about God to us. Therefore, the job of the Church is limited. The job of the Church is to get the children of Adam and Eve into the process of frolicking with God so God can do the work of transformation. Getting the children of Adam and Eve into the process is achieved by revelation not regulation. Make known the sweetness of paradise and the sourness of godlessness. [Note: The sourness of godlessness is autodidactic; it makes itself known. The sweetness of paradise is not autodidactic in the Valley of Tears. Only revelation makes it known.] The potential difference between the sweetness of paradise and the sourness of godlessness is the engine that creates the current of salvation. The current of salvation is a mighty river that flows through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death and into the kingdom of God, the promised land, the land of milk and honey. The mighty river of truth sweeps us off our feet and carries us to our salvation. Only the recalcitrant few try to swim against it.

The #1 problem in the world today is that our understanding of God is superficial. We are lightweights in our understanding of God. God is a stranger to us and nobody follows a stranger . The goal of evangelization is to deepen our understanding of God - to illuminate the darkness of our understanding of God. Why? The knowledge of God transforms us. Engagement and personal intimacy with the Sacred Truth is the solution to the world's #1 problem.

God built an escape route that passes through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death and into his kingdom - the promised land - the land of milk and honey. He defined the escape route with holy places, made a map of them, established a Church and entrusted the map to the Church. He gave the Church the job of facilitating our escape - not the job of frustrating it, filtering it or fouling it up. The escape is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect. The Church has the map and knows the way!

We experience personal intimacy and engagement with the Sacred Truth at the holy places that define the escape route. The holy places form the needle of a compass that always points in the direction of God. Only by moving from holy place to holy place can we be sure that we are heading in the right direction. Therefore, make haste to the holy places. Make haste! Sit at his feet. Rest your head on his bosom . Keep God company. Put yourselves in His presence . Be transformed!

The dervish whirls. Why?

Dervishes whirl . Why? Our clerics advocate that we, Christians, whirl from sacrament to sacrament as well. 'Go to Mass!' 'Go to Confession!' They tell us. Yet, few of them tell us why. They don't have the words. Without the why, the practice of Christianity has become a dull and perfunctory routine - monotonous. Moreover, without the why, fewer and fewer are whirling. Christianity is a spinning top winding down. The engines that moves us along the escape route through the Valley of Tears and into the kingdom of God are knocking and sputtering, starving for fuel . Our clergy have failed us. We no longer know why we whirl. We have forgotten. The fuel for our escape through the Valley of Tears and into the kingdom of God is the truth. The truth is the fuel for our rationality. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" . When fueled by the the truth, our rationality steers us in the right direction. When the fuel of truth is fouled by illusion, our rationality leads us astray. Yet, our fuel supply has been cut off. We have become strangers to the truth. The truth is no longer fueling our rationality. Without the truth, our escape is stuck in the doldrums. No progress is being made to the promised land. The sour truth is the engine that pushes us to the exit of godlessness. The sweet truth is the engine that pulls us to the entrance of paradise. Between the exit of the Valley of Tears and the entrance to the promised land, the land of milk and honey, is the Red Sea of Death. Standing like a colossus in the Red Sea of Death - at the nexus between the exit of godlessness and the entrance of paradise - is Jesus. Through his bloody wounds the great leap is made from time to eternity . He is the way . "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me." .. Our clerics prefer the role of king to the role of witness. They have abandoned their role as witnesses. Instead of testifying as witnesses to the truth, our clergy are trying to rule us as petty despots. Regulation, not revelation, has become their stock-in-trade. Morality is not the truth that moves the new exodus on the escape route from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his Holy Family in the promised land, the land of milk and honey. Morality is the effect of escaping not its cause. Morality is the crown of glory that adorns the heads of Christians who have joined the new exodus. Only the truth moves the new exodus. Only the truth - both sweeet and sour - generates the current of salvation. To get the escape through the Valley of Tears and into the kingdom of God going again, it is time to learn the difference between morality and the truth, both the sweet truth of paradise and the sour truth of the Valley of Tears.