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What is the Context of our Existence?

The Valley of Tears is the vessel in which 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.

The Valley of Tears is the vessel that holds the ruins of Paradise. 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 .

The Valley of Tears is the context of our existence.

We are making our escape through our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of death, which is the worst and the last of our crosses and into the promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey . Our journey is a journey through hostile territory. Many and merciless are the crosses that besiege us as we make our escape. In hot pursuit behind us is the new Pharaoh at the head of an army of hostile crosses. It is the hammer. The hammer is driving us through the Valley of Tears. In front of us blocking our way is the anvil. The anvil is the Red Sea of Death. The Red Sea of Death stands between us and the promised land, the land of milk and honey. Without a miracle, our destiny is to be crushed between the hammer and anvil. Without a Savior, we are doomed.

Original Sin

What is original sin ?

God gave Adam and Eve the gift of life and the gift of paradise simultaneously. Between them, he inserted no delay. Yet, they let the gift of paradise slip through their fingers. They fumbled the ball. They dropped the prize. Ooops! Butterfingers was the problem.

Is the problem intractable ? Is the problem beyond the power of God to solve? Are we forever doomed to fall into the same trap as Adam and Eve did? Or did God come up with a solution that prevents the children of Adam and Eve from repeating the original sin of their parents?

Yes. God concocted the medicine that cures us. The medicine is harsh but effective. The minute Adam and Eve exited paradise and entered the Valley of Tears, God started to inoculate us with it. God baptizes us in the evils of the Valley of Tears. He lets us stew in the evils of the Valley of Tears for a lifetime like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine. The medicine cures us of our tendency to butterfingers a/k/a concupiscence . When the gift of paradise is delivered to us, we will keep it. We will not let it slip through our fingers. We will not fumble the ball. Having put our fingers into the flames, we have learned for ourselves that the fire is hot. A life without God in the Valley of Tears is too terrible to contemplate . The prodigal son will never return to the pig sty . Neither will we. Our baptism in the evils of the Valley of Tears makes firm our grip on the gift of paradise. It puts iron into our grip.

Love turns the Valley of Tears into the gardens of the new Eden. Therefore, cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go. Cling as Jesus clung. Irrigate the Valley of Tears with love. Jesus started the process of re-establishing the gardens of the new Eden in the Valley of Tears. He did not complete it. He was the first drop . Our mission is to turn the drop into a flood . The goal is to inundate the Valley of Tears with love. The gardens of the new Eden grow drop by drop.

The brutality of the Crucifixion makes the intransigence of his love for us extraordinarily amazing. No brutality; no amazement. Brutality + intransigent love = WOW! Love is the bait that Jesus cast into the cesspools of sin to fish for the children of Adam and Eve .

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. God is the resource of the poor man. God is all that the poor man has.

The lighter we travel, the faster we go, the quicker we get there

It is better to travel light through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of death and into the Kingdom of God. Poverty, not riches, facilitates our escape. The journey is through hostile territory. The lighter we travel, the faster we go, the quicker we get there.

Stewing in the evils of the valley of Tears makes firm our grip on the gift of paradise

All of our complaints against God's rescue plan originate from our intimate contact with the evils of the Valley of Tears. Yet, our baptism in the evils of the Valley of Tears brings multiple blessings to us. One of the blessings is that our baptism in the evils of the Valley of Tears makes firm our grip on the gift of paradise.

Between the gift of life and the gift of paradise, God inserted a delay. During the delay, we stew in the evils of the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine.

Why? Why are we baptized in the evils of the Valley of Tears before we are given the gift of paradise?

God did not baptize Lucifer, the gaggle of angels who follow Lucifer, Eve, Adam and the prodigal son in evil before he gave them the gift of paradise. They were given the gift of life and the gift of paradise simultaneously. Yet, all of them fumbled the ball. They let the gift of paradise slip through their fingers. God does not want the children of Adam and Eve to repeat the mistake (a/k/a original sin) of their parents. So God lets us stick our fingers into the flames to learn for ourselves the hard way that the fire is hot. 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. Our own personal experience teaches us that the alternative to paradise is a shithole. Rational creatures avoid living in a shithole. It is against their self-interest to do so. It is crazy to do so. Our baptism in the Valley of Tears is harsh but effective medicine. Once bitten, twice shy.

P.S. The sour truth is the medicine. The sweet truth is the sugar that helps the medicine go down in the most delightful way .

Is the problem getting the gift of paradise or keeping it? What does the evidence say? Lucifer. The gaggle of angels who follow Lucifer. Eve. Adam. The Prodigal Son. All were given the gift of life and the gift of paradise simultaneously. Yet, they all fumbled the ball. The evidence tells us that the problem is in the keeping not in the getting.

Stewing in the evils of the valley of Tears Defangs the Serpent

All of our complaints against God's rescue plan originate from our intimate contact with the evils of the Valley of Tears. Yet, our baptism in the evils of the Valley of Tears brings multiple blessings to us. One of the blessings is that our baptism in the evils of the Valley of Tears defangs the serpent. It drains the serpent's lie of its power to deceive.

The serpent testified that we would become gods, without God, in the Valley of Tears . God, however, gave conflicting testimony. God testified that, without God in the Valley of Tears, we would die .

Our personal experience with the evils of the Valley of Tears proves that the serpent’s testimony was false and God’s testimony was true. It unmasks the lie and the liar . 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. The Valley of Tears sucks. Reality itself packs a much more persuasive punch than the representations of reality from either God and the serpent. God lets us put our fingers in the fire to learn for ourselves that the fire is hot. Having testified falsely to us once, will we ever believe the serpent again ? Stewing in the evils of the Valley of Tears is the evidence from which the jury can reach the right verdict. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" .

[Note: This is one of the solutions for the problem of evil.]

Jesus is the lifeline that God threw to us to rescue us from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears .

Mitigation

Did the Son of God transport any relief from heaven to earth to mitigate the direness of our predicament in the Valley of Tears? Did he bring with him anything that we can use today, not just tomorrow, profitably - anything that is relevant to this world not just to the next?

The brevity of life proves the mercy of God. Only a misanthropic god would let us stew in the hostile truth of the Valley of Tears for more than a lifetime like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine. A philanthropic God puts an upper limit on our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears.

The serpent is responsible for our entry into the Valley of Tears. God is responsible for our exit.

Mitigating the bitterness of the Valley of Tears

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 bad 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 dramatic 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@@.

We are not on the same page as God

God's perception of the nature of our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears is different than our perception of it. So God's solution is different than our solution.

To us, our dire predicament is the army of hostile crosses that besiege us as we pass through the Valley of Tears including the worst and the last of our crosses,death .

To God, our dire predicament is not our circumstances but ourselves. Our hearts are empty of love. We live our lives on the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast and not on the level of our loving God - in the dank, dark and hostile basement of the kingdom of God and not in its sunny and hospitable penthouse. Without hearts filled to the brim with love, we are zombies - dead men walking. He sees that we are dead trees hollow to our cores that form a vast, ghastly and petrified forest in the gray, sterile and dusty landscape of the Valley of Tears. God wants to bring the dead to life . He wants to plant and cultivate the gardens of the new Eden here and now in the Valley of Tears. In the gardens of the new Eden grow the vibrant trees whose trunks, branches and leaves flow with love in abundance . Love is the sap of life . 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 .

Our prayers, therefore, are different than God's prayers . We pray for the elimination of the army of hostile crosses or for immediate extraction from the battlefield. We want a helicoper God who swoops in to rescue us at the slightest hint of trouble . God, however, is not on the same page as us. God has a different agenda. God doesn't baby us. God wants us to put on our big boy pants. He wants us to apply love to our problems. God wants us to dilute the sourness of the Valley of Tears with the sweetness of love in the same manner that sugar cubes dilute the bitterness of a bad cup of coffee. He wants us to become loving trees in the gardens of the new Eden. He hung from his Cross to show us how we ought to hang from our crosses. 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. God wants us to deny ourselves, pick up and carry our crosses . Only love gives us the strength to perform this superhuman feat .

There is a difference in opinions. His prevails.

A cross makes the need for God manifest. It is a mistake to try to handle a cross without God on our own.

Love lightens the load. Love enables us to deny ourselves, pick up and carry our crosses .

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." .

Jesus diluted the sourness of his Cross with love.

God's Rescue Plan Makes us Involuntary Participants in a Contact Sport

God's rescue plan makes us involuntary participants in a contact sport. It puts us in intimate contact with the truth - both the sweet truth and the sour truth. God is supremely confident in the liberating power of the truth. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" . Unfortunately, the sour truth plays rough. God did not want Adam and Eve to come into contact with the sour truth in the Valley of Tears. He warned them . However, representations of reality do not pack the same persuasive punch as the reality itself. Adam and Eve disregarded God's warning. Now, in the Valley of Tears, we put our fingers into the flames to learn for ourselves that the fire is hot. We are learning the sour truth the hard way by intimate contact with it.

Better to be pilgrims passing through the Valley of Tears than settlers roosting in it.

Pulling up our roots from the toxic soil of the Valley of Tears

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 .]

The March of the New Exodus

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! Rejoice and be glad!

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!

The Conflict in the Testimony

The serpent testified that we would become gods, without God, in the Valley of Tears . God testified that, without God, in the Valley of Tears, we would die . Our job was to resolve the conflict in the testimony. Our job is to evaluate the conflicting testimony and render a verdict. Like Adam and Eve, we need to decide between God and the serpent. Our decision determines the course of our lives as it determined the course of the lives of Adam and Eve.

The Serpent Sugarcoated The Valley of Tears

The serpent conjured up an illusion that sugarcoated the sour truth of the Valley of Tears. He testified that we would become gods, without God, in the Valley of Tears . The sugarcoating distorted our perception of reality. The sugarcoating appealed to our sweet tooth. It induced us to exit paradise and enter the Valley of Tears in search of deification.

The Investigation of Adam and Eve

In retrospect, it is easy for us back seat drivers and arm chair quarterbacks to say that Adam and Eve 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?

The Sledgehammers of truth

The sour truth is the sledgehammer that shatters the sugarcoating with which the serpent covered the Valley of Tears .

The sour truth is harsh but effective medicine. However, it has a deleterious side effect. It creates an illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise.

Forgiveness is the sledgehammer of truth that shatters the illusion that hides the sweetness of paradise from us. Jesus released forgiveness into the Valley of Tears as the blessed byproduct of the violent collision between himself and the evil that we did to him on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.

By shattering the illusions with intimate contact with the truth, our perception of reality is restored. Godless people are turned into People of God.

The knowledge that God loves us is the Engine that transforms us

The engine of transformation is the knowledge that God loves us . Nothing else. The knowledge that God loves us pulls the children of Adam and Eve through the Valley of Tears to the entrance of paradise. It is the honey that draws the bees back home to the hive. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" . Therefore, distribute the knowledge that God loves us to the children of Adam and Eve. Fill the earth with the knowledge that God loves us as the waters cover the sea . "What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God." .

Diluting the toxicity of the Valley of Tears

The knowledge that God loves us dilutes the toxicity of the Valley of Tears in the same way that sugar cubes dilute the bitterness of a cup of bad coffee.

What humility! Wow! What a God is our God! Where do I sign up? How do I enlist? How do I join the kingdom of the transcendent God who is willing to wash my feet ?

Christianity is a bucket brigade

Jesus started the process of re-establishing the gardens of the new Eden in the Valley of Tears. He did not complete it. He was the first drop . Our mission is to turn the drop into a flood . Christianity is encroaching into the Valley of Tears drop by drop. The goal is to inundates the Valley of Tears with the knowledge that God loves us. Christianity is a bucket brigade . From the reservoir of love that Jesus holds in his heart, we distribute love to the children of Adam and Eve. We fill the earth with the knowledge that God loves us as the waters cover the sea . 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 .

God wants us to dilute the sour truth of the Valley of Tears with the sweetness of love

In the Valley of Tears, we come into intimate contact with the sour truth. All of our complaints against God's rescue plan originate from our intimate contact with the sour truth. God, however, will not eliminate the sour truth from the Valley of Tears for us. God wants us to do it. The job is ours not God's. There is one way and one way alone that does the job. God wants us to dilute the sour truth of the Valley of Tears with the sweetness of love. The sweetness of love dilutes the sour truth of the Valley of Tears as sugar cubes dilute the bitterness of a cup of bad coffee.

We Quarantine Evil with Love

Evil is a communicable disease. How do we stop its transmission? How do we stop evil from spreading from evildoer to victim?

Jesus transported from heaven and released into the Valley of Tears his prescription for the treatment of evil. Moreover, Jesus was so confident in the efficacy of the treatment that he did something extraordinary. After inoculating himself, he exposed himself to the disease. Jesus himself put on a dramatic demonstration of the treatment.

What treatment did Jesus prescribe for evil?

Quarantine. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, Jesus taught us to quarantine evil with love. Jesus exploited the axiom that the seeds of evil do not germinate in the soil of love. Love is toxic to evil. Love suffocates evil as water suffocates a fire. He built a firewall of love between himself and the evil that we did to him. Evil neither passed through or passed back. Love stopped evil dead in its tracks. Evil did not dislodge him from the level of our loving God and demote him to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. Buckets of blood spilled through his wounds and out of his body. But not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us followed his blood. His heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us.

Therefore, contain the contagion by building firewalls of love! Quarantine it. Quarantine evil with love.

For what shall we Pray? For a change of circumstances or for a change of heart?

Are you praying for the right thing? The prayer that God answers asks God to fill the reservoirs of our hearts with love. Fill your heart; change the world. Love is the 'grease' that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the Valley of Tears.

Forgiveness is the Face of God that Jesus showed us on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection

As Eden grew more remote from us in both space and time, God lost his face. God became a faceless God to all but the Jews. He became a featureless blob, a mysterious, inscrutable enigma - a real but anonymous and amorphous presence - incognito - a blank slate - impossible to read. Jesus gave our faceless God a face. He restored features to the face of God. Jesus released the face of God into the Valley of Tears in a most extraordinary manner. He assumed the starring role in a dramatic demonstration of divinity. A violent collision took place between himself and the evil that we did to him. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. The venue of the violent collision was the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The violent collision was bigger than the Big Bang and larger than CERN'S Large Hadron Collider. It was a smash hit. The violence of the collision illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. It is the rock to which the wise anchor their understanding of God . Out of the violent collision the face of God appeared. A face is not a mask that hides but a window that reveals . Love has many faces. One of them is the face of forgiveness. Jesus gave God the face of forgiveness. Jesus arose from the dead still alive and still in love with us. 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. Through forgiveness , Jesus made known to us the God who loves us . To know forgiveness is to know God. As we baptized him in brutal evil, Jesus wore the face of forgiveness . The brutality of the evil that we did to him makes His forgiveness of us extraordinarily amazing.

Keep your eyes on the face of forgiveness. Behold your savior and live.

His bloody wounds are the badges of forgiveness

His bloody wounds are the badges of forgiveness. They function as the rainbow functioned in the old covenant . Our God wears them to remind us that he forgave us for the evil that we did to him.

Forgiveness is the yeast of Divinity

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 knowledge that God loves us is the yeast of divinity .

Forgiveness is the Pearl that Jesus cast to the swine

Forgiveness is the pearl that Jesus cast to the swine - the holy that Jesus threw to the dogs . God did not wait for our conversion before he forgave us. He forgave us to bring about our conversion . He gave the dogs and swine forgiveness to raise them up from the basement of the Kingdom of God to the penthouse - from the level of the most miseable and hideous of loveless beast to the level of their loving God .

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

God has our back

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 violent collision that took place between Jesus and the evil that we did to him the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Forgiveness erupted into the Valley of Tears from the violent collision as incandescent lava erupts from a volcano. Forgiveness is the light that illuminates the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epipiphany. To forgiveness, the wise anchor their understanding of God. As we explore on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, 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. The knowledge that God loves us inspires confidence in us that God has our back. When we are confident that God has our back, we can afford to do good to our neighbors. When we doubt, how difficult it is. Good works are the manifestation of our trust in God. The absence of good works reveals an absence of faith. Fill the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea . Everything else follows from here. The knowledge that God loves us is the point and place of beginning in the process of building a Christian.

The good news of great joy is the knowledge that God loves us.

Turning the Drop into a Flood

Jesus began the process of filling the earth with the knowledge that God loves us as the waters cover the sea . He did not complete it. He was the first drop . To complete the process, God established a Church in the Valley of Tears. The mission of the Church is to turn the drop into a flood . The Church's mission is to inundate the Valley of Tears with the knowledge that God loves us like the flood of Noah. Revelation, not regulation, is needed. The good news of great joy is the knowledge that God loves us. Preach the good news of great joy, and, if necessary, use words The Church succeeds when it sticks to its mission. It fails, when it strays. Unfortunately, the Church is not doing a very good job. The Church has let God and the children of Adam and Eve down. After more than two thousand (2,000+) years, God is still a stranger to us . And nobody follows a stranger . “And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers” .

The Church has bit off more than it can chew. The scope of its mission has expanded beyond its proper boundaries. Preach the good news of great joy, step aside and let God do the rest.

Make your escape with him on the trail that he blazed

Fools try to blaze their own trail through the wilderness, across the Red Sea of death and into the Kingdom of God. The wise pass through the Valley of Tears with Jesus on the trail that Jesus blazed. Follow him. He is the way . "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me." . 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 job of the Church is to facilitate the escape not to frustrate it, filter it or foul it up . The escape of the new Exodus through the evils of the Valley of Tears is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect . “Nobody left behind" is the motto of the escape. "Neither saint nor sinner” .

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

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! Rejoice and be glad!

Participation is the job of the Church. Transformation is the job of God. The job of the Church is to transform settlers into pilgrims. The job of God is to transform sinners into saints. The work of salvation goes off the rails when the Church tries to do God’s job.

What is lacking in the afflictions of Christ?

"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking[a] in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church," . Jesus began the process of filling the earth with the knowledge that God loves us as the waters cover the sea . He did not complete it. He was the first drop . The first drop was released into the Valley of Tears as the blessed byproduct of a violent collision between Jesus and the evil that we did to him on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The violent collision took place at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet known as the Middle East more than two thousand years ago. The location is the boondocks of time and space. In the boondocks, his audience was limited. Too few saw the face of forgiveness that emerged from the violent collision. Therefore, to turn the drop into a flood that inundates the Valley of Tears, we need to put on the face of God so more of the children of Adam and Eve can see God for themselves face to face. We need to distribute the knowledge that God loves us across time and space. It is up to us to expand the range of the good news of great joy. It is up to us to make up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ. However, the mission of filling the earth with the knowledge that God loves us as the waters cover the sea is easier said than done. It cannot be completed just with words. Words will not do it. Only love begets love.

Since Eden, the Knowledge that God loves us has faded from the Valley of Tears

Since Eden, the knowledge of God has faded from the Valley of Tears. God has become a stranger to us. Nobody follows a stranger . As Eden grew more remote from us, many false, inaccurate and conflicting pictures of God arose in the minds of the children of Adam and Eve. The multiplicity of pictures created confusion. “Who is our God?”, we asked ourselves. Our answers were all over the map. “This is God” some said as they pointed to their favorite picture of God. Others pointed to a different picture and said, “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. He paid us a visit to restore the knowledge that God loves us in the Valley of Tears.

The greatest threat to our salvation

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 .

Jesus planted the seeds of forgiveness into the soil of our hearts

Into the soil of our hearts , Jesus planted the seeds of forgiveness . He was the start of the process of transforming the Valley of Tears into the gardens of the new Eden - to reverse the catastrophe of Adam and Eve - to undo the fall. Moreover, He left a Church behind with the mission to push the process forward . The seeds of forgiveness remediate the toxicity of the soil. The seeds of forgiveness turn into trees of love so that, in the gardens of the new Eden, many can enjoy the fruits of love not just tomorrow and in the next world but today, here and now, in the Valley of Tears. From Jesus, with the help of the Church, the gardens of the new Eden are encroaching into the Valley of Tears step by step.

The Great Leap from Time to Eternity

God is executing his plan to rescue the children of Adam and Eve from their dire predicament in the Valley of Tears. He started executing his plan as soon as we exited paradise and entered the Valley of Tears. The plan is simple. God puts us in intimate contact with the truth - both the sour truth and the sweet truth. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" . The sour truth pushes us to the exit of the Valley of Tears. The sweet truth pulls us to the entrance of paradise. 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 . He is the way "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me." 

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.

God is now homeless and Christianity is now godless

Christianity is the home of God in the Valley of Tears. However, 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 no longer pay any attention to the God who forgave us for the evil that we did to him .

What do we do to resuscitate 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.  What do we do to resuscitate Christianity? "Fill the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea" . More revelation; less regulation. More witness; less king. More God; less Church. More Mary; less Martha. More pizzazz; less nitty-gritty. No change in doctrine; just a change in emphasis - a tweak, nothing more.

The Elephant in the Room

The God who forgave us after we tortured and killed him is the elephant in the room. The enemies of Christianity talk about the tchotchkes on the shelves but not the elephant in the room. They bury the elephant of Christianity in the tchotchkes to hide him from us - to obscure the nature of God from us - to turn a clear, high fidelity representation of the reality of God into a fuzzy, low fidelity representation.The elephant of Christianity is trapped in the mud. Let us free the elephant from the mud. Let us dig the elephant out of the tchotchkes as we would dig a car out of the mud after a mudslide.

Christians are Murdering 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 . Many self-styled Christians promote their own favorite, pet aspects of Christianity at the expense of the revelation about God that arose when Jesus deposited forgiveness into the boiling pot of torture, suffering, killing and death. Forgiveness was the vehicle by which Jesus revealed God to us. 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. They empty the Cross of Christ of its meaning .

With what did Jesus bait the hook to fish for the children of Adam and Eve?

With what did Jesus bait the hook to fish for the children of Adam and Eve ? He baited the hook with the good news of great joy . The good news of great joy is the sweetness of forgiveness. The sweetness of forgiveness is the only bait that catches fish. The fish take the bait hook, line and sinker. We tortured and killed our God while he was human, alive, tender, vulnerable, our guest upon the earth, and, most importantly, when he loved us. Yet, he forgave us . Isn't forgiveness sweet ? To know forgiveness is to know God. Jesus leveraged our understanding of forgiveness into an understanding of God. The greater is the offense, the more amazing is the forgiveness ! The God who forgave us for the evil that we did to him is the bait. 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 ON WHICH WE HAVE BUILT OUR UNDERSTANDING OF GOD

We can tell how well or how poorly our Church has done in helping us to find the answer to the question, "Who is God?", by conducting the following investigation. On what foundation do you build your answer to the question, 'Who is God'? Can you articulate it? Get you put it into words?

A Church has done well when the children of Adam and Eve can facilely articulate the foundation of their understanding of God. A Church has done poorly when we find it difficult to articulate the foundation. When we find it difficult to articulate a foundation, rest assured that our God is still a stranger to us . And nobody follows a stranger . “And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers” Most of us cannot articulate facilely the foundation on which we build our answer to the question, 'Who is God?'. When asked the question, we become tongue-tied. We stutter and stammer. Our Churches have failed us.

Our answer to the question, 'Who is God'? 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.]

The strongest foundation comes from Jesus himself. It is the apocalyptic revelation that Jesus released into the Valley of Tears out of the violent collision between Jesus and the evil that we did to him on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Rest your understanding of God elsewhere and your understanding of God will be distorted. It will be defective. It will be worthless speculation.

Behold his bloody Wounds

Behold the bloody wounds that our evil opened in his body. Behold Jesus who wears His bloody wounds as the outward signs of forgiveness. Behold the God who forgave us for the evil that we did to him!

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 good news of great joy was preached to us. 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).

Information does not ordinarily pass across the abyss that seperates heaven and earth especially the knowledge of God. It needs to be downloaded. In fact, when Jesus downloaded the knowledge of God and deposited it into the revelation that erupted from the violent collision that took place between himself and the evil that we did to him, he started the revolution that is Christianity. The knowledge of God is changing the world. It is resetting the world on a new foundation - a foundation of love.

What knowledge passed to here from there? What knowledge did Jesus download?

We tortured and killed our God when he was human, alive, tender, vulnerable, our guest upon the earth and, most importantly, when he loved us. He forgave us . The forgiveness that Jesus released into the Valley of Tears on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. Jesus showed God to us as the God who forgives . He forgave his companion on the Cross . He forgave us . He asks us to forgive our neighbors seventy times seven times . "... as we forgive those who trespass against us, he forgives us." . To know forgiveness is to know God. Jesus leveraged our understanding of forgiveness into an understanding of God. The greater is the offense, the more amazing is the forgiveness !

Christianity is a treasure map for treasure hunters engaged in a treasure hunt

Christianity is a treasure map for treasure hunters engaged in a treasure hunt. A cross marks the spot of the treasure . The treasure of Christianity is the knowledge of God. Jesus transported the knowledge of God from heaven and deposited it into a 'bank' in the Valley of Tears. From the 'bank', Christians withdraw the treasure to distribute it across time and space to the children of Adam and Eve. The primary - not the only - vehicle for the distibution of the treasure is the Mass. Furthermore, Jesus did not deposit the treasure of Christianity directly into the Mass. He used an intermediate depository. The 'bank' that received the deposit directly from Jesus was the byproduct of the violent collision that took place between Jesus and the evil that we did to him on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. . The violent collision was bigger than the Big Bang and larger than CERN'S Large Hadron Collider. It illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. It disclosed the color of divinity. It is the rock to which the wise anchor their understanding of God. The violent collision is the foundation of the Mass. No violent collision; no Mass. No body and blood; no bloody wounds; no transubstantiation. The byproduct of significance that erupted from the violent collision was forgiveness. To know forgiveness is to know God. To practice forgiveness is to be godlike. Our God is different than us and our other gods. Our God is the God who forgave. Grab your shovel. Make your way to the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. There, stake your claim. Dig up the treasure for yourself. Make yourself rich!

The Key that Unlocked the treasure chest of Christianity

The key that unlocked the treasure chest of Christianity was the violent collision between Jesus and the evil that we did to him on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Jesus was the treasure chest. Forgiveness was the treasure. The violent collision was the key. Forgiveness erupted into the Valley of Tears out of the violent collision between Jesus and the evil that we did to him on the on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.

The more brutal is the evil, the more amazing is the forgiveness

The more brutal is the evil, the more amazing is the forgiveness. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died ? Yet, Jesus forgave us . It is easier to forgive a little offense than to forgive a big offense. Jesus forgave a big offense - a very big offense.

To know forgiveness is to know God.

The Three (3) Parts of the Revelation

The revelation that Jesus released into the Valley of Tears on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection consists of three parts: 1) the Crucifixion, 2) the Resurrection and 3) the connection between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. All three parts are necessary to understand the revelation.

Who are you, God?

To answer our question, 'Who are you, God?', God sent us a love note. God did not send us a threat, a warning or another type of information. God was not ambiguous. To convey the nature of God to us, God had many options. Yet, the option he settled upon was forgiveness . Doesn't this tell us all we need to know about God? P.S. God did not just send us a love note to answer our question, 'Who are you, God?'. God verified the genuineness of the love note by putting it to the test. 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. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. Proof.

CHRISTIANITY IS THE LOVE STORY THAT BEGAN WITH A LOVE NOTE FROM GOD TO US

A LOVE NOTE IS THE FOUNDATION OF CHRISTIANITY 

God did not keep his love for us to himself. He did not bottle it up. He did not lock it away in the dungeon of his heart. He was not reticent about it. He expressed his love to us. How? GOD EXPRESSED HIS LOVE FOR US BY SENDING US A LOVE NOTEJESUS IS 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.

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 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

Have you read the LOVE NOTE

Has the knowledge that God loves you sunk in? Have you absorbed it.? Has it permeated your understanding?

His love for us survived the evil that we did to him . It did not fade as we tortured him and did not die when we killed him. His love for us is a mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn love .

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 that we did to him could budge it.

 The evil that we did to Jesus on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection 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 Position of Prominence in the Showcase of Christianty

What did Jesus enshrine in the position of prominence in the showcase of Christianity? The road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the showcase of Christianity. Jesus put forgiveness on display in the showcase. What do others put in the position of prominence in the showcase of Christianity? Do they focus on forgiveness or on some other aspect of Christianity inferior to forgiveness?

The bombshell of revelation

Jesus dropped a bombshell of revelation into the Valley of Tears. It exploded on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The incandescense of the explosion illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany . Forgiveness erupted into the Valley of Tears out of the violent collision between Jesus and the brutal evil we did to him. Forgiveness was the vehicle that Jesus used to reveal God to us. The violent collision was the key that opened the treasure chest. Forgiveness was the treasure in the treasure chest. The insight about God that Jesus gave us on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection was presented to us via the story of forgiveness.

The engine that produced the revelation that God is forgiveness was the violent collision between Jesus and the evil that we did to him.

Forgiveness is the asymmetrical answer that Jesus gave when we asked him to identity himself with lash, thorns, nails and spear. 'Who are you, Jesus? Identify yourself! Friend or foe?'

How a Christian is built

These are the steps in the building of a Christian. Construction needs to occur in sequence.

We tortured and killed him when he has human, alive, tender, vulnerable, our guest upon the earth and, most importantly, when he loved us. The evil that we did to him was great. The greater is the offense, the more amazing is the forgiveness. ====>

God forgave us . ====>

God loves us. The seed of transformation is the knowledge that God loves us . Therefore, fill the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea . ====>

A God who loves us has our back. He is reliable. We can trust in him. ====>

With the backing of God, we are not sticking our neck out. There is no risk only reward. We can afford to do good to our neighbors.

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 . Whom shall we fear? Of whom shall we be afraid ? Will our almighty lover ever let us down? Will he ever disappoint?

How do we summon the Light from the Sky?

How do we summon the light from the sky ? What is the catalyst of conversion? What revelation illuminates the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany? Forgiveness summons the light from the sky . Forgiveness is the catalyst of conversion. We tortured and killed him. He forgave us . I forgive you because He forgave us. "And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us" .

The Cost of Salvation

Look at the cost that Jesus paid out of his own pocket to stop the evil that we did to him from propagating. The cost was exorbitant. 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 overpaid - that he was ripped off. We were not worth the cost. He, on the other hand, was willing to pay the cost. He thought that we were worth it. Rejoice and be glad! We are worth much to our God! He would not have paid the exorbitant cost of our salvation if we were not worth it .

Transactional Evil was Jesus's Target

Transactional evil flows from evildoer to victim. The flow is visible. For example, on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, we tortured and killed Jesus. He suffered and died. There are other kinds of evil. But, transational evil was the only kind of evil that Jesus put on display on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Transactional evil is not quite the same as intrinsic evil. For intrinsic evil, the flow of evil is not always visible. The difficulty in detecting a flow of evil in intrinsic evil is the reason philosphers and theologians invented the concept of intrinsic evil. There wasn't enough evil in the world so they invented more. The fiction of intrinsic evil gives them a wide, unfettered latitude to declare evil anything that they dislike. The mission of Jesus was to show us the best way to handle transactional evil in the Valley of Tears. Jesus's recommendation is that we quarantine transactional evil with love. When we worry too much about intrinsic evil, however, we take our eyes off the mission of quarantining transactional evil with love - we stop doing the job that needs to be done.

Catechesis requires more than words

The transmission of Christianity is difficult because it is not transmitted by words. It is transmitted by love. Words beget words; but only love begets love. Catechesis in Christianity occurs via love - sacrificial love - nothing else.

The line of scrimmage experienced a change in venue

Love drove evil out of heaven and cast it down into the Valley of Tears (Revelation 12:7-12) (Luke 10:18). Evil was evicted but not defeated. The war against evil was unfinished. Only the venue had shifted from up there to down here. The line of scrimmage had made its way into the Valley of Tears.

THE HIGHEST AUTHORITY IS THE TRUTH

The highest authority is the truth. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" . God open sourced the truth. Nobody has a monopoly over the truth. Beware anyone who claims exclusive ownership of the truth.

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

God is supremely confident in the liberating power of the truth. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" .

The Liberating Power of the Truth

The serpent testified that we would become gods, without God, in the Valley of Tears . God testified that, without God, in the Valley of Tears, we would die . Supremely confident in the liberating power of the truth, God let Adam and Eve conduct their own investigation into the conflict in the testimony between God and the serpent. 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, God 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 . 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.

The truth is the fuel of our 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 a lie, our rationality leads us astray .

The Two (2) Engines of truth

The sour truth is the engine that pushes us to the exit of the Valley of Tears. The sweet truth is the engine that pulls us to the entrance of paradise. Together they generate the current of salvation.

Reality shatters illusions

Reality shatters illusion as rock shatters scissors (Wikipedia). Contact with words about the truth is a poor substitute for 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. So God lets us come in contact with the reality of the Valley of Tears to shatter the serpent’s sugarcoating. When we put our fingers into the flames in the Valley of Tears, we learn for ourselves that the fire is hot. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” . In the Valley of Tear, we are prisoners of falsehood. The sour truth sets us free from our imprisonment. We do not become gods, without God, in the Valley of Tears.

Intimate contact with the sour truth

Unfortunately, our intimate contact with the truth in the Valley of Tears is not limited to intimate contact with the sweet truth. In the Valley of Tears, we come into intimate contact with the sour truth as well. All of our complaints against God's rescue plan originate from our intimate contact with the sour truth.

The teeth and tongues of our Crosses

The crosses that besiege us as we make our escape through the Valley of Tears are not neutral. They are hostile. They have both teeth and tongues. And they bite. Furthermore, their tongues are as sharp as their teeth. Their tongues broadcast virulent anti-God propaganda. “Where is your savior now?”, they taunt us as their teeth mercilessly masticate us into bits and pieces. “Despair! Abandon hope! You are alone and forsaken. Nobody is coming to rescue you” ? 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. Friction from our intimate contact with the sour truth challenges the idea that God is our almighty lover. "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? In the Valley of Tears, life is, indeed, "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” (Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan). In the Valley of Tears, we stew like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine.

Why Does God Let Us Stew in the Valley of Tears Like Pickles in a Barrel of Toxic 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 Finger of God

The Cross of Christ is the finger of God . The finger of God is the flashing, neon billboard that points to the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection and says, "This Way" . To discover what is important in Christianity, just follow the finger of God.

The Crucifix

Christians place Crucifixes in positions of prominence in their homes and in their Churches. We often make the sign of the Cross. God placed the original Crucifix in the position of prominence on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Jesus also received his bloody wounds on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. What does all of this tell us about the importance of what took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection?

Some contexts are better than others in contributing to our understanding of God

Are you spending time with God? In what context do you spend time with God? To understand God, we must not only spend time with him but we must spend time with him in the proper context. Not all contexts are equal. Jesus created only one context in which we can download a high fidelity understanding of God. That is right - only one. The best context for downloading a high fidelity understanding of God is the story of forgiveness that became part of our reality on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Make pilgrimage to the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Witness with your mind's eye what took place there. Testify to the truth about God. Save the world. In the process of saving the world, you save yourself.

Who are you God? Identify yourself! Friend or foe?

Jesus released a revelation about God into the Valley of Tears as he made his way on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The revelation illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany? What was the revelation?

Events took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Jesus participated in the events. So did we. The events were recorded in a story. It is a short story. The short story can be told in just eight (8) words. We tortured and killed him. He forgave us . One (1) word summarizes the story: forgiveness.

The story of forgiveness that unfolded on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection gives us a glimpse of God - a peek at divinity.

The jump from forgiveness to love is easy. Forgiveness is one of the blessed fruits of love. Love begets forgiveness. Forgiveness is the child of love. Love has other offspring but forgiveness is its first child.

The detail about God that Jesus disclosed on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is forgiveness. It is a detail of consequence. Forgiveness is the rock to which the wise anchor their understanding of God . With the disclosure of the detail, God ceased to be an enigma. No longer was God a stranger to us. Who are you, God? Identify yourself! Friend or foe? The detail about God that Jesus disclosed enabled us to reach the conclusion that, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, God is our friend not our foe. He is for us not against us. He is a philanthropist not a misanthrope.

Forgiveness is the earthquake at the epicenter of Christianity. The earthquake reset the foundation of the world onto a new foundation - a foundation of love.

The position of prominence in the showcase of Christianity belongs to the story of forgiveness that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. It does not belong to the Mass, the other sacraments, morality or anything else Christian.

Our God is the God who forgave us for the brutal evil that we did to him. Wow! Rejoice and be glad. The good news of great joy does not get any better than that!

Jesus introduced into our reality the asymmetric combination of evil and forgiveness. The introduction took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection more than two thousand years ago. We did brutal evil to him. He forgave us . The more brutal is the evil, the more amazing is the forgiveness. What does the the asymmetric combination of evil and forgiveness tell us about our God? Shall we place the combination in the position of prominence in the showcase of Christianity or shall we place something else there?

A tree is known by its fruit

A tree is known by its fruit . Forgiveness is the fruit . Love is the tree . He is the first tree to bear fruit in the garden of the new Eden . Ground zero was the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, he forgave us for the evil that we did to him. He planted the seeds of forgiveness into the hearts of the children of Adam and Eve . The seeds of forgiveness turn into trees of love so that, in the garden of the new Eden, many can enjoy the fruits of love . From him, the garden is encroaching into the Valley of Tears.

Forgiveness is the yeast of divinity

God did not wait for our conversion before he forgave us. He forgave us to bring about our conversion . Forgiveness is the pearl that Jesus cast to the swine - the holy that Jesus threw to the dogs . He gave the dogs and swine forgiveness to raise them up from the basement of the Kingdom of God to the penthouse - from the level of the most miseable and hideous of loveless beast to the level of their loving God . 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. Forgiveness is the yeast of divinity . Forgiveness is the agent of our transformation - the catalyst of our conversion. The mission of Jesus was seminal. The Son of God, the gardener , planted the seed of forgiveness into the hearts of the children of Adam and Eve . The seed of forgiveness turn into trees of love so that, in the garden of the new Eden, many can enjoy the fruits of love . Watch his garden grow ! Note: we cannot harvest the fruits of love without first planting the seeds of love . The foundation must be built before the roof.

The Publication of a High Fidelity Representation of God

On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, Jesus published a high fidelity representation of God. All other representations of God made by human hands must step aside and yield to the representation that the Son of God himself gave to us. Jesus had many options with which to represent God. The option he settled upon, however, was forgiveness. Jesus used forgiveness to give us a high fidelity representation of God. According to Jesus, to know forgiveness is to know God.

What is the Greatest Prayer?

The greatest prayer is love.

Are you praying?

His Bloody Wounds are Question Marks

HIS BLOODY WOUNDS ARE PUNCTUATION MARKS THAT STAND BETWEEN THE CRUCIFIXION AND THE RESURRECTION. They are not periods; they are not semi-colons; they are not commas. THEY ARE QUESTION MARKS. THEY MARK A MYSTERY. 'What answer would Jesus give us in response 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.

An Echo of the Original

What is the original? What is the echo? Which is more important?

The Declaration of Independence is the original; A Fourth of July party is the echo. A birth is the original; a birthday party is the echo. George Washington is the original; a painting of George Washington is the echo. Christopher Columbus is the original; a statue of him is the echo. An echo derives its existence from the original sound. The story of forgiveness that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the original; the Mass is the echo.

Which is more impotant? the original or the echo? Is the most Holy Eucharist "the source and summit of the Christian life" (CCC 1324)? Does the position of prominence in the showcase of Christianity belong to the Mass? Or does it belong to the story of forgiveness that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection?

Don't be fooled by the Lipstick on a Pig

What distinguishes our genuine God from the many counterfeit gods - the frauds - who try to deceive us? His reaction to the evil that we applied to him distinguishes our genuine God from the many counterfeit gods. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. His love for us did not fade as we tortured him and did not die when we killed him. By his bloody wounds, we recognize our God . Jesus wears His bloody wounds as the outward signs of forgiveness. 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. Good priest, the trappings of the priesthood are not valid credentials. Do not point to your clerical collar or to your ordination. They are not valid credentials. They are just lipstick on a pig . The only valid credential is sacrificial love. 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 on the road from the Crucifixion to the 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.

Jesus diluted the toxicity of the Valley of Tears with forgiveness in the same way that sugar cubes dilute the bitterness of a cup of bad coffee. Forgiveness sweetened the pot.

Our evil lit the fuse to the atomic bomb of revenge, retribution and retaliation. However, the atomic bomb did not detonate. It did not go off. Love turned the atomic bomb into a dud. Love snuffed out the explosion.

What is the detail of consequence?

Our God is the God who forgives. This is the detail of consequence. Jesus released this detail into the Valley of Tears on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. First, restore this detail to its position of prominence in the showcase of Christianity. Only thereafter, promote the tangents of Christianity - pursue the red herrings down the dead ends - elevate the minutiae of Christianity. We have buried the revelation about God that Jesus released into the Valley of Tears on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection in a pile of little things that do not matter. We have lost our way.

Rally 'round the Cross!

Is the revelation about God that Jesus released into the Valley of Tears on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection important? God erected a landmark on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection to emphasize its importance. 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! P.S. We also make the sign of the Cross often to remind us of the importance of the revelation about God that Jesus released into the Valley of Tears on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.

The Baptism of Jesus

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

We baptized Jesus on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.

To the pot of his baptism, ingredients were added. The ingredients added to the pot tell us about creature and Creator. We added the bitter herbs of torture, suffering, killing and death. Jesus did not do likewise. Unlike us, Jesus did not add the bitter herbs of revenge, retaliation or retribution in response to our contribution. Instead, he added the sweet elixir of forgiveness . Forgiveness is the elixir that sweetened the pot .

WE ARE TRAPPED TOGETHER IN THE SAME POT

We are trapped together in the same pot. It is called the Valley of Tears. When we piss in it, we ruin it not only for the target of our venom but for ourselves. “One Lord, one faith, one baptism,” (Ephesians 4:5). Therefore, add nothing to the pot that increases its toxicity. Dilute the toxicity of the pot with the sweet fruits of love, one of which is forgiveness. Water the toxicity down. Refuse a demotion from the level of our loving God to the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. When we fall, we contaminate the pot. The greatest, most pernicious heresy is that each of us lives in our own pot - that we are isolated in our own, independent silos. Now is the time to know what we do (Luke 23:34) - to recognize our shared, dire predicament and that it is in our own self-interest to sweeten the pot. What are we doing to sweeten the pot?

 

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

JESUS HUNG FROM HIS CROSS TO TEACH US HOW TO HANG FROM OUR CROSSES. While we tortured and killed him, He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. Therefore, follow him (John 14:6). Cling as Jesus clung, hold tight and refuse to let go of love, evil’s invincible foe. Only love kicks evil’s ass.

Jesus was well aware of the direness of our predicament in the Valley of Tears.

To mitigate the direness of our predicament in the Valley of Tears, Jesus transported advanced, alien technology from heaven and released it into the Valley of Tears on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The technology that Jesus transported and released was the technology of love. 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 (Exodus 3:1-3). The more brutal is the evil, the more amazing is the forgiveness (Luke 23:34). Witness the asymmetric combination of evil and forgiveness that Jesus introduced into our reality on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection and be amazed! "What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God." (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756).

To shield us from evil’s sting as we pass through the Valley of Tears, a firewall is needed that stands between evil and the children of Adam and Eve. Jesus taught us the composition of the firewall. The seeds of evil do not grow in the soil of love. Therefore, we build our firewall out of the soil of love.

The trail of love that Jesus blazed is the best way to pass through the Valley of Tears, across the Red Sea of Death and into the Kingdom of God. The trail of love is the path of least resistance. It is the easy way not the hard way (Matthew 11:28-30). He blazed the trail so we don’t have to blaze our own trails through the wilderness. His recommendation is that we follow him along the trail of love that he blazed (John 14:6).

Moreover, He did not just lob his recommendation to us from the sidelines at a safe distance. He did the most remarkable thing! He himself entered the fray. He himself joined the scrum at the line of scrimmage. He was so confident that love is the grease that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the Valley of Tears that he himself showed us that love works. He donned the jet pack and flew to show us that we, too, can fly. What a crazy daredevil this Jesus was!

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.

CAN YOU HANG FROM YOUR CROSSES AS JESUS HUNG FROM HIS? Can you cling as Jesus clung - to love? It is in your self-interest to do so.

God endowed us with the capacity to love. Our hearts are vessels that can be filled 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" .

The Seeds of Evil do not Germinate in the Soil of Love

A gap exists between us and the evil. According to the law of symmetry, evil begets evil. Evil propagates itself, like a wave, from evildoer to victim. Evil can jump the gap to contaminate us with evil. The seeds of evil, however, do not germinate in the soil of love. Love is toxic to evil. Love smothers evil as water smothers fire. 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. Christianity needs construction workers who know how to continue the work that Jesus started. Construction of the firewall is the priority of Christianity. However, the work is hard. Words do not build the firewall. Words just beget words. Only love begets love .

To answer the question, "Who is God?", God sent us a Love Note. He did not send us a threat, a warning or another kind of message. What does this tell us about our God?

Jesus travelled light. He did not invade the Valley of Tears at the head of an army. He invaded the Valley of Tears to recruit an army.

† THE EXCLAMATION POINT † 

The Word of God (John 1:1) is proficient in punctuation. He is an expert in it. We punctuated his body with bloody wounds. 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 Comparison between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection

Comparison is a basic linguistic structure that asserts the existence of a relationship between the elements of the comparison. A comparison invites us to explore the relationship. The Crucifixion and the Resurrection is a comparison of creatures and Creator. God made the comparison on purpose. In the comparison, we learn the radical difference between us and our God. Our wickedness highlighted his goodness. It shone the spotlight on it. It helps us to better understand it.

God Engineered an Equation on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.

God engineered an equation on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The Crucifixion and the the Resurrection are the two sides of the equation. The equation postulated an inequality. In the equation, God made a comparison between him and us. In the comparison, we behold the radical asymmetry between creature and Creator . Creature ≠ Creator. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, we discovered that He is as fair as we were foul - as hospitable as we were hostile. He is paradise. We are the Valley of Tears. We live our lives on the level of the most miserable and hideous of loveless beast. He lives his life on the level of our loving God. We tortured and killed him. He forgave us . The comparison results in a high fidelity representation of the reality of God. Our vileness shines a light on his goodness

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 road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. 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.

We applied evil to our God while he was human, alive, tender, vulnerable, our guest upon the earth, and, most importantly, when he loved us. Yet, he forgave us . The greater the evil that we applied, the more amazing is the forgiveness.

THREE GALLONS OF MEANING

DOES YOUR TANK HAVE THE CAPACITY TO HOLD THREE GALLONS OF MEANING? To store the revelation that Jesus released into the Valley of Tears that God loves us dearly, Jesus deposited three gallons of meaning on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 1:17) .  From this repository, the revelation is distributed to the children of Adam and Eve across time and space. The vehicle for the distribution of the revelation is the Mass.

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. “Who are you, Jesus? identify yourself! Friend or foe? In the Resurrection, He whispers his gentle answer back to us (1 Kings 19:11-13).. He did not answer the evil that we did to him in kind. He did not require "an eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" (Exodus 21:24). He did not give us a taste of our own medicine. Thankfully, he changed the tone of the conversation. He forgave us (Luke 23:34) 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)?

The greatest damage is done to our understanding of God when we divorce the Crucifixion from the Resurrection - when the comparison between creature and Creator is not made - when our contribution to the boiling pot of his baptism is viewed separately and independently from his contribution. It 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 bug. "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Mark 10:9).

ESCAPE FROM THE VALLEY OF TEARS

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 evacuate us from it. Only Sister Death evacuates 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. He hung from his Cross to show us how to hang from our crosses. 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. We come into intimate contact with the sweet truth in the Valley of Tears when we engage in close encounters with our living and loving God at the holy places that define the escape route through the evils of the Valley of Tears.

 The evil that we did to Jesus on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection 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 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 that we did to him could budge it.

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 objectively measured. To measure love, data from the answers to two questions are needed.

What is the scope of our love? and

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.

Love is in our self-interest

Too many mistakenly think that Jesus wants us to pay the cost of love out of our own pockets from our own resources so our enemies can enjoy its benefits . This seems unfair 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 just for 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: “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).

We Occupy the Space within the Radius of the Blast

Evil ignites the fuse to the bomb of revenge, retaliation and retribution. 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.

GOD WANTS HEROES NOT BOOKKEEPERS

God wants heroes not bookkeepers. He did not invade the Valley of Tears to recruit and train an army of bookkeepers whose only martial skill is to keep track of spiritual debits and credits in order to render an account of them to God in the hereafter. Christianity is a more serious endeavor than handing in your scorecard at the end of a round of golf. God wants heroes who can fight evil not bookkeepers who can recordkeep. God wants heros who are willing to jump on the grenade of evil for their neighbors (Matthew 5:38-40). Jesus is recruiting and training an army of heroes from amongst humanity who can resist evil with love. When we resist evil with love, we help Jesus deliver the coup de grâce to the serpent and his fallen minions. It is a wartime army not a peacetime army. God wants us to stand with Jesus - shoulder to shoulder - cheek to jowl - in the scrum at the line of scrimmage as a comrade-in-arms fighting together against evil as part of a glorious band of sisters and brothers. VICTORY AGAINST EVIL COMES THROUGH HEROES NOT BOOKKEEPERS. Forget about keeping the books.

JOIN THE SCRUM.

FIGHT THE WAR.

MOUNT THE CROSS.

DO NOT LET YOUR CROSSES MOUNT YOU.

Let your love smother evil as water smothers fire. Love is the energy that gives us the courage to jump on the grenade of evil for our neighbors. Love turns us into superman with the strength to deny ourselves, to pick up and carry our crosses (Matthew 16:24-25). Love is saving the world. In the process of saving the world, we save ourselves.

Love is the energy that gives us the courage to jump on the grenade of evil for our neighbors.