Proof that God has a Sense of Humor

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20).

Knock. Knock.

Who is there?

Jesus.

Jesus who?

The Jesus who descended from heaven to earth to pay you a visit for approximately thirty-three years at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of your planet called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago. The Jesus who visits you again and again whenever a priest celebrates a Mass. The Jesus who fashioned you out of the mud with his hands and who put himself into the hands of the mud. The Jesus whom you tortured and killed while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and your guest here on the earth. The Jesus who did not stay dead, thereby proving to you that He is God. The Jesus who did not stop loving you, thereby proving to you that Divinity is love. The Jesus who did not cancel the invitation to follow him back to your home in paradise with him and his holy family, thereby proving to you that Love is radically and abundantly and infinitely generous. This life here on earth is but preparation for the next. Its purpose is to make us ready to receive the gift of paradise. When God delivers the gift of paradise to us, God wants us to keep it. He does not want us to repeat the original sin of our parents, Adam and Eve. They opted out of paradise after the gift of paradise had already been delivered to them. To make us ready to receive the gift of paradise, the illusions that hide reality from us need to be shattered. The serpent conjured up two illusions. The two illusions still plague us today. One illusion camouflages the sweetness of paradise. The other illusion sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness. The two illusions reverse the natural inclination of reality. Reality is not on the level. It slopes downward in the direction of paradise from godlessness. The slope creates the gravity of salvation. The gravity of salvation pushes us out of godlessness and pulls us into paradise. To get the gravitational current to flow, all that is needed is a conductor installed between the world of godlessness and the world of paradise. Jesus became the conductor. He is the bridge between the two worlds. He is the way, etc. The illusions are shattered in two different ways. To shatter the illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness, God inserted a delay between the delivery of the gift of existence and the delivery of the gift of paradise. During the delay, we get to taste the sourness of godlessness for ourselves. To shatter the illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise, the Son of God himself paid us a visit to reveal the sweetness of paradise to us. At Bethlehem, the Son of God personally delivered to us a love note and an invitation to come back to our home in paradise with God and his holy family. Jesus was both the love note and invitation. At Calvary, the Son of God personally delivered to us proof that both the love note and invitation were genuine. If the love note were counterfeit, God's love for us would have faded as we tortured him and died when we killed him. If the invitation were counterfeit, it would have been cancelled. However, both the love note and the invitation survived the test of their genuineness. Freed from the illusions, we apprehend the natural inclination of reality. When fed the truth, our sanity instructs us to flee the sourness of godlessness and seek the sweetness of paradise as the sanity of the prodigal son instructed him to flee the pig sty for his father's house.  The truth sets and keeps us free. During our time on this earth, we are inoculated with the elixir of truth. The elixir of truth is the antidote to the poison of falsehood.  Life is not a tragedy. Life is a comedy. It has a happy ending. When our lives here on earth are over, we shall be the beneficiaries of the gift of paradise as surely as the night follows the day. Life only seems like a tragedy because our eyes are not yet opened. We are not yet awake. We do not understand that this life is but a preparation for the next. As Padre Pio said, "Pray, hope and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayers." God has your back. Trust in him. Surrender yourself to his will. St. Faustina said his will is "love and mercy itself" - something to be sought not something from which to flee. God is not out to hurt you. God is out to help you. God is not your enemy. God is your friend. God is a philanthropist not a sadist. Moreover, God has a wry and whimsical sense of humor. Ours is the God with a sense of humor! How can we not be attracted to a God with a sense of humor (Genesis 1:27)? In Revelation 3:20, God gave us the paradigm for the knock-knock joke.  How cool is that? Furthermore, behold the role that God assigned food to play in our fall and in our rise. We ate our way into trouble with a snack (the apple). Would it not, therefore, be appropriate if we could eat our way out of trouble with a snack? Indeed, we eat our way out of trouble with the bread and wine of the most Holy Eucharist.  The symmetry of the snack by which we get into and out of trouble is so perfect - the role of food in our rise and fall is so frivolous - that it can only be the work of God. No mere mortal could write such a comedy. No one would believe it. Dinner is ready. Supper is on the table. Dilly-dally no longer. All is well. Let's eat.

Basic Training in Christianity

The scope of this website is limited. It does not treat all aspects of Christianity equally. Not all aspects of Christianity deserve equal emphasis. Some aspects of Christianity are more important than other aspects. This website navigates around the picayune to focus on the important. Moreover, there is a sequential necessity in explaining Christianity. Basic Training comes first. Advanced Training comes only after Basic Training is finished. Some aspects of Christianity are best dealt with in Basic Training. Other, more advanced aspects, are best dealt with in Advanced Training. This website has nothing to do with Advanced Training in Christianity. It limits itself solely to Basic Training. Keep in mind that no change in doctrine is being suggested in this website. Just a change in emphasis. A tweak, nothing more. In Basic Training we try to reacquaint our audience with the Big Picture of Christianity. Why? The Church has forgotten the Big Picture of Christianity. It can no longer see the forest of Christianity because the trees of Christian minutiae are in the way. The trivial has eclipsed the important. No longer in possession of an understanding of the Big Picture of Christianity, Churches are closing or merging. Fewer and fewer are going to Mass. No one is going to Confession. The only sacrament holding its own is the sacrament of extreme unction and this is so only because the dead do not have a choice. The purpose of this website is to reverse this trend. Our society is better off when people are religious, that is, when they seek God and flee from godlessness. This website, therefore, explains why it makes sense to be religious in general and a Christian in particular. The means that this website uses to achieve its purpose is to reacquaint its audience with the Big Picture of Christianity. However, before I continue, let me give you a warning. This website has nothing to do with sin. Sin belongs to the Advanced Course in Christianity not in Basic Training. Sin is but one of the many elements of the Big Picture of Christianity. Sin is a bit player not the star of Christianity. Jesus, the hypostatic union between man and God, is the star of Christianity. He is the foundation of the Church not sin. Basic Training in Christianity can be done without reference to sin. This website is the proof of concept. Sin is a crutch. If you cannot talk about and discuss Christianity without reference to sin, your understanding of Christianity is defective. In this website, you will learn how to talk about and discuss the important aspects of Christianity without reference to sin. In Basic Training, your crutch will be taken from you and you are expected to walk on your own. The marginalization of sin to Advanced Training, no doubt, will disappoint those fully invested in defending the Church's monopoly over it.  It will send the sin mongers into a tizzy. However, the sin mongers are only concerned with the weeds in the garden of Christianity not the vegetables. They currently have the upperhand in the Church. Hopefully, their ascendancy has reached its climax. They are well intentioned. However, they have no clue about the Big Picture of Christianity. Having no clue, their obsession with sin is the proximate cause of the Church's decline. When the only song the Church sings is the song of sin, sin and more sin, its audience tunes out and switches to a different frequency. The sin mongers, however, think it is a great song. Their attitude to the audience that tunes out is Fu*% them - a smaller, purer Church of Christian Übermensch is preferable than the Church of sinners that Christ founded. To defend the Church's monopoly over sin, their strategy is to circle the wagons and, from this defensive posture, fight off the attackers. Unfortunately, progress from godlessness to paradise cannot be made while the wagons are circled. The enemies of the Church understand the Church's defensive strategy better than the Church does. And they use it against the Church. Whenever the enemies of the Church desire to stop its progress dead in its tracks, they attack its monopoly over sin. It is time for the Church to change its defensive strategy. It is time for the Church to fight its enemies on the run from moving wagons - with no pause in the progress of the Church from godlessness to paradise. The only way a new strategy is possible is with an understanding of the Big Picture of Christianity. Therefore, it is time for the Church to get back to the basics. It is time for the Church to reacquaint itself with the Big Picture of Christianity.  It is time for the Church to learn to talk and discuss Christianity without reference to sin. Finish Basic training first before moving on to Advanced training in Christianity. Success in evangelization requires that we learn to respect the proper sequence of training events.

The Escape is the Big Picture of Christianity

What is the Big Picture of Christianity? The Big Picture of Christianity is our escape from godlessness to paradise. God delivered the gift of existence and the gift of paradise to Adam and Eve simultaneously. There was no delay. However, after the gift of paradise had been delivered to Adam and Eve, they opted out of paradise. They had paradise in hand but abdicated it. It slipped through their fingers. They fumbled it. Like foolish children, they ran away from their home with God in paradise and took us with them into godlessness. Why? What induced them to make this tragic mistake? What prompted them to commit this original sin? With lies, the serpent conjured up two illusions that seduced them into opting out of paradise for godlessness. One illusion camouflages the sweetness of paradise. The other illusion sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness.  The illusions change the direction of the flow of traffic.  Reality has a natural inclination. The natural inclination of reality is from godlessness to paradise - from sourness to sweetness. The illusions reverse the natural inclination of reality. They direct the flow of traffic away from paradise and toward godlessness. In godlessness, we are in trouble. We need help. There, we cannot save ourselves from the predators poised to devour us. So a philanthropist - a benefactor - our God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands - arranged for our escape. But how? How are we induced to make our escape? One thing and one thing alone induces our escape from godlessness to paradise. To induce our escape, the illusions conjured up by the serpent that hide reality from us need to be shattered. The Church must take the sledgehammer of truth in hand and wield it against the illusions to shatter them as the blow of the hammer shatters glass.  The truth sets us free.  All truth? Does all truth set us free? No. A subset of truth sets us free. The truth about the sweetness of paradise and the truth about the sourness of godlessness is the truth that sets us free. The sledgehammer of truth shatters the serpent's illusions in two different ways. In contrast to Adam and Eve, God now inserts a delay between the gift of existence and the gift of paradise. The delay is brief. The brevity of life is proof of the mercy of God. During the delay we taste for ourselves the sourness of godlessness. This taste of godlessness is harsh but effective medicine. It shatters the illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness. We learn for ourselves that godlessness sucks (Matthew 19:23-26). To shatter the illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise, God sent his Son to pay us a visit. During his visit, He revealed the sweetness of paradise. Freed from the illusions by the sledgehammer of truth, we apprehend the natural inclination of reality. The truth generates the current of salvation. It flows from the sourness of godlessness to the sweetness of paradise. The truth is the engine that powers our escape. When our eyes are opened and we apprehend the truth, our sanity induces us to seek the sweetness of paradise and flee the sourness of godlessness.  We pick up the roots we had put down into the hostile desert of godlessness. We become pilgrims instead of settlers. We join the new exodus that is making its escape through the hostile desert of godlessness from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his holy family in the promised land. The escape from godlessness to paradise is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect. The movement of the new exodus forms the needle of the compass that always points to God. Only by making our escape from holy place to holy place that define the escape route can we be sure that we are heading in the right direction. To facilitate our escape, God established an escape route, defined the escape route with holy places, made a map of them, founded a Church, entrusted the map of the holy places to the Church and armed the Church with the sledgehammers of truth to shatter the serpent's illusions. When the illusions are shattered, the question becomes, "How do we get there from here?'. In possession of the map, the Church knows the way from here to there - from godlessness to paradise.  It knows the location of the holy places where close encounters with the living God take place here on earth. The Church is the trustee of the map. Hospitality is expected from the trustee of the map. The Church as trustee of the map has a fiduciary duty to facilitate the escape not frustrate it - to be grease for the wheels of the escape not an obstacle in its way. It is an intermediary. Its job is to introduce us to God and God to us at the holy places. Its job does not extend further than introductions. At the holy places, we explore for ourselves the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God. There, at the holy places, God, not the Church, transforms us. Yet, its role as trustee of the map has gone to its head and made the Church's head swell. Instead of being the servant of the escape, the Church has made itself the master of the escape. Instead of facilitating the escape, it filters it (Matthew 7:1-5) judging who is worthy and who is unworthy of the escape. The Holy Spirit is tugging at our souls. The curious are following the tug back to its source. When this process is initiated, the Church must get out of the way. Its job is done. The Church must let go. The curious are now in the hands of God. When the Church injects itself between the curious and the Holy Spirit to become an obstacle in the way, the curious go over it, under it, around it and through it. Nothing, not even the Church, can stop the curious from following the tug of the Holy Spirit to its source. Nothing. The escape is the Big Picture of Christianity. Our sanity, when fed the truth, stops us from repeating the original sin of our parents, Adam and Eve. The prodigal son is not going back to the pig sty. And neither are we. When God gives us the gift of paradise, we shall keep it because the truth has set us free from the serpent's illusions.

What is the good news of great joy?

God plans to deliver the gift of paradise to us just as they delivered the gift of paradise to Adam and Eve. God will not be less generous with us than they were with them. Adam and Eve were the first beneficiaries of God’s love for us. They were not the last. God’s philanthropy did not end with Adam and Eve; God’s philanthropy began with them. This is good news of great joy - very good news for us indeed. But first, God needs to solve the problem of post delivery paradise opt out. God does not want us to repeat the mistake of our parents, Adam and Eve. We call their mistake original sin. They had paradise in hand yet they abdicated it for godlessness. When God delivers the gift of paradise to us, God wants to make sure that we will keep it. God wants us to keep the gift of paradise without having to turn paradise into a prison, themselves into our warden and us into prisoners. Life is the opportunity for God to reduce the likelihood of post delivery paradise opt out to near zero.

The Purpose Of Life

The purpose of life is to get us ready to receive the gift of paradise.

Quick! Administer the Antidote

The serpent poisoned us. He fed us the poison of falsehood. The poison of falsehood conjured up two illusions. One illusion camouflages the sweetness of paradise. The other illusion sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness. The illusions reverse the natural inclination of reality. Reality is not on the level. It slopes. Its natural inclination is downward from godlessness to paradise. The natural inclination of reality creates the gravity of salvation. The gravity of salvation pushes us out of godlessness and pulls us into paradise. The serpent's illusions, however, hide the natural inclination of reality from us. They imprison us in godlessness. To rescue us from godlessness, God armed his Church with the sledgehammer of truth. The sledgehammer of truth shatters the illusions as the blow of a hammer shatters glass. Freed from the illusions, our sanity instructs us to flee the sourness of godlessness and seek the sweetness of paradise in the same way that the sanity of the prodigal son instructed him to flee the pig sty for his father's house. Quick! Administer the antidote. Feed them the elixir of truth to counteract the poison of falsehood.

The Skull and Crossbones that Identify a Bottle of Poison

The sources of information about godlessness were God and the serpent. God slapped a skull and crossbones upon godlessness to warn us that it was poison. The serpent painted the opposite picture of godlessness. A conflict existed between the sources of information. Whose information about godlessness was trustworthy? A tie breaker was needed. Our parents, Adam and Eve, decided to make a determination for themselves independent of the two sources that supplied them with information about godlessness. They would self-verify. So they drank the poison. They discovered for themselves the sourness of godlessness. And they paid the price for drinking the poison. It would have been a lot easier and a lot less painful for them to have respected the warning of the skull and crossbones. But they did not. Fortunately, God mitigates the consequences of drinking the poison by making life on earth brief. The brevity of life proves the mercy of God. Life is but an infinitesimally thin slice of time when we compare it to the thickness of eternity. Moreover, the silver lining from our self-verification of the dark cloud of godlessness confirmed the trustworthiness of God as a source of information and the untrustworthiness of the serpent. It makes us more likely to listen to God in the future and less likely to listen to the serpent. Self-verification persuades us of the wisdom of listening to God and not the serpent. Self persuasion is the most effective form of persuasion. Furthermore, when God delivers to us the gift of paradise, the likelihood that we will opt out of it for godlessness is reduced to near zero by our tasting the sourness of godlessness for ourselves. We won't repeat their original sin. The prodigal son is not going back to the pig sty and neither are we. We aren't idiots. 

Evangelization

The steps in Evangelization

  1. Shattering the illusions conjured up by the lies of the serpent that hide reality from us is the first step.
    • There are two illusions:
      • One illusion sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness
        • The sledgehammer of truth that shatters this illusion is swung during the delay between the delivery of the gift of existence and the delivery of the gift of paradise. During the delay, we get to taste for ourselves the sourness of godlessness.
      • The other illusion camouflages the sweetness of godlessness.
        • The sledgehammer of truth that shatters this illusion was swung during the visit that the Son of God paid to us for approximately thirty-three years more than two thousand years ago at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East. During the visit, the sweetness of paradise was revealed to us. We are reminded of the sweetness of paradise every time we celebrate Mass.
      • Shattering the illusions makes a sane person religious, that is, desirous of fleeing the sourness of godlessness and seeking the sweetness of paradise.
  2. Once the illusions are shattered and reality is apprehended, the question that is asked is 'How do we get there from here?'
    • The second step of evangelization after the illusions are shattered is raising the question 'How do we get there from here?' Who knows the way? Do you? Who has the map of the escape route? Who will serve as the new Moses? How will show us how to get through the hostile desert of godlessness from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his holy family in the promised land? 
  3. After the question, 'How do we get there from here?' is raised, it is answered with the rule of survival. The way from here to there is to include God in your lives. Only by including God in our lives do we live and only by excluding God from our lives do we die. Introduce yourself to God at the holy places that define the escape route from godlessness to paradise and God will introduce himself to you. It is not any more complicated than this. Explore the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God at the holy places that God frequents. 
  4. Game, set and match.

 

The Natural Inclination of Reality

Reality has a natural inclination. It is not level. It slopes. It slopes from godlessness to paradise - from sourness to sweetness. God endowed reality with a natural inclination to make the trip to paradise easy and the trip to godlessness hard. As gravity makes an object fall from up to down, the natural inclination of reality pulls us to paradise and pushes us away from godlessness. Sane people, fed the truth, flee the sourness of godlessness and seek the sweetness of paradise.

The Illusions Conjured up by the Serpent

We are unworthy of God's love for us. Yet, God loves us anyway. Jealous of God's love for us, the serpent plotted to extinguish it. With lies, the serpent conjured up two illusions that hide the natural inclination of reality from us. One illusion camouflages the sweetness of paradise. The other illusion sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness. The illusions reverse the sign that points us away from godlessness and to God. Surely, the serpent reasoned, our movement away from God into godlessness would extinguish God's love for us. Fortunately for us, the serpent is mistaken. God continues to love us nonetheless. He loves us so much that God founded a Church and armed it with the sledgehammer of truth to shatter the serpent's illusions as the blow of a hammer shatters glass. The sledgehammer of truth that shatters the illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness is wielded during the delay between the delivery of the gift of existence and the delivery of the gift of paradise. During the delay, we get to taste the sourness of godlessness for ourselves. Our source of information about godlessness ceases to be either God or the serpent and becomes ourselves. This is harsh but effective medicine. When God delivers the gift of paradise to us - and delivery of the gift of paradise to us is ineluctable - we shall not opt out of it as did our parents, Adam and Eve. We shall not repeat their original sin. The sourness of godlessness inoculates us against the illness of post delivery paradise opt out. It vaccinates us. The sourness of godlessness is preventive medicine. Its effectiveness justifies its harshness in the opinion of God. Moreover, its harshness does not cross the line into sadistic cruelty because God made life brief. Life is an infinitesimally thin slice of time when we compare it to the thickness of eternity. The brevity of life proves the mercy of God. The sledgehammer of truth that shatters the illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise was wielded during the approximately thirty-three year visit that the Son of God paid to us at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago.  At Bethlehem, the Son of God personally delivered to us a love note and an invitation to follow him back to our home in paradise. He was the love note and the invitation. At Calvary, the love note and invitation were put through a test of their genuineness. If the love note were counterfeit, His love for us would have faded as we tortured him and died when we killed him. If the invitation were counterfeit, the Son of God would have cancelled it. Both survived the test. He did not stay dead - proof that Jesus is God. He did not stop loving us - proof that divinity is love. He did not cancel the invitation - proof that love is radically and abundantly generous. Freed from the illusions, sane people flee the sourness of godlessness and seek the sweetness of paradise. The truth sets them free. Freed, the question that arises is 'How do we get there from here?' God established an escape route, defined it with holy places, made a map of them, established a Church and entrusted the map to the Church. Equipped with the map, the Church knows the way. As trustee of the map, the Church has a fiduciary duty to facilitate our escape from godlessness to paradise not to frustrate it or filter it - to be grease for the wheels of the escape not an obstacle in its way. For more than two thousand years, the Church has shattered the illusions that hide the reality of godlessness and paradise from us. Moreover, It has helped us make our escape from godlessness to paradise. Its experience ought to inspire great confidence that it knows the way. Make haste. Make haste. The ship of godlessness is sinking. To the life boats. To the life boats. Abandon ship.

The Truth that Sets us Free

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32).  Not all of the truth. Only a subset of the truth. The serpent hid reality from us by conjuring up two illusions with lies. One illusion camouflages the sweetness of paradise. The other illusion sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness. To set us free, the illusions must be shattered as a hammer shatters glass. The sledgehammer of truth that shatters the illusion hiding the sourness of godlessness from us is wielded during the delay between the delivery of the gift of existence and the delivery of the gift of paradise. During the delay, we get to taste the sourness of godlessness for ourselves. The prodigal son learns for himself that the pig sty sucks.  The sledgehammer of truth that shatters the illusion hiding the sweetness of paradise from us was wielded when the Son of God paid us a visit for approximately thirty-three years at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago. At Bethlehem, the Son of God personally delivered a love note and an invitation to follow him back to our home in paradise. He was the love note and the invitation. At Calvary, the love note and invitation were put through a test of their genuineness. If the love note were counterfeit, His love for us would have faded as we tortured him and died when we killed him. If the invitation were counterfeit, the Son of God would have cancelled it. Both survived the test. He did not stay dead - proof that Jesus is God. He did not stop loving us - proof that divinity is love. He did not cancel the invitation - proof that love is radically and abundantly generous. The sourness of godlessness pushes us out of it to its exit. The sweetness of paradise pulls us toward the entrance of paradise. Jesus is the conductor placed between the world of godlessness and the world of paradise to induce the current of salvation to flow. Sane people, when fed the truth, flee the sourness of godlessness and seek the sweetness of paradise. We flee through the bloody wounds we opened through which his life exited his body. When God delivers the gift of paradise to us, we will keep it.  The prodigal son is not going back to the pig sty and neither are we.

Original Sin

Assume God's goal is to reduce the likelihood to near zero that the children of Adam and Eve would repeat the original sin of their parents. How would God stop us from opting out of godlessness after the gift of godlessness is given to us? Shatter the illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness. Shatter the illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise. Free us from the illusion that distorts reality. Feed our sanity the truth. Let the truth induce us to flee the sourness of godlessness and seek the sweetness of paradise. In possession of the truth, the prodigal son will never return to the pig sty and neither will we. 

Paradise is not a Prison; God is not our Warden; We are not His Prisoners

God does not want us to repeat the mistake of our parents Adam and Eve. When God delivers the gift of paradise to us, God wants us to keep it. He wants us to keep it, however, without having to turn paradise into a prison, Himself into our warden and us into prisoners. God respects are freedom to opt out of paradise for godlessness but wants us to decline to do so. God wants us to make the choice and wants us to make the right choice. The theory that the beatific vision imprisons us in paradise after the gift of paradise is delivered to us is contradicted by the evidence. Adam abdicated paradise after the gift of paradise had been delivered to him. Eve abdicated paradise after the gift of paradise had been delivered to her. Lucifer abdicated paradise after the gift of paradise had been delivered to him. The gaggle of angels who followed Lucifer abdicated paradise after the gift of paradise had been delivered to them. The evidence indicates that when the possibility of a superior alternative place to live is a viable option on the table, the sweetness of paradise is not sufficient to keep us there. 

Disobedience is Reinventing the Wheel

Obedience is a hell of a lot easier and a lot less painful than self-verification. God has figured it out for us so we don't have to figure it out for ourselves. It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel. The story of Adam and Eve illustrates the advantage of obedience over self-verification. God erected a door between paradise and godlessness, installed the lock of prohibition against using it and gave the key of disobedience to Adam and Eve.  It was a dangerous door. Yet, God erected it despite the danger. The door gave us an option. It represents freedom. After the gift of paradise was delivered to us, we could opt out of paradise for godlessness. Even though it was dangerous, God did not put armed guards around the door. God did not put it behind a barbed wired fence. God did not dig a moat around it and fill the moat with alligators. God did not put it in the middle of a mine field. God did not hide it. Furthermore, God installed the flimsiest of locks on it. It was more a warning than a lock. It was akin to putting the skull and crossbones symbol on a bottle of poison. The lock was God's prohibition against using the door. The lock was a joke in the sense it was easy to unlock. All that was needed to open the door was the key of disobedience. And God gave Adam and Eve the key of disobedience. Here. Here is the key of disobedience to open the door. Keep it with you in your pocket. Keep it handy. What was on the other side of the door? Curiosity made Adam and Eve wonder about godlessness. God was one of their sources of information about godlessness. God, however, was not the only source. The serpent was the other source. Adam and Eve flipped a coin and decided to rely on the serpent instead of God as the trustworthy source of information about godlessness. As a result of their misplaced reliance, they abdicated paradise for godlessness. They put the key of disobedience into the lock of prohibition, opened the door and stepped through it from paradise into godlessness. God did not punish Adam and Eve for their disobedience. God is not the punishing God that you might think or that the Church may tell you. Our God is a gentle God, slow to anger, rich in kindness. What happened to Adam and Eve when they passed through the door may seem like punishment but it is not. God merely gave Adam and Eve and us an alternative source of information about godlessness beside the serpent and himself - God gave us a tiebreaker. He let Adam and Eve and us, - us because when they abdicated paradise they took us with them into godlessness - , taste the sourness of godlessness for ourselves. God let us become the source of our own information about godlessness. We were given the opportunity to self-verify. We substituted self-verification for obedience. We reinvented the wheel. We started from scratch. This taste of godlessness that is given to us during the delay between the delivery of the gift of existence and the delivery of the gift of paradise confirms the trustworthiness of God and the untrustworthiness of the serpent. It makes us more likely to listen to God in the future and less likely to listen to the serpent. "Sh%$!" we exclaim to ourselves. "If we only had listened (obeyed) to God, we would not be in the perilous predicament of godlessness in which we find ourselves (John 20:29)." A taste of the sourness of godlessness makes us better listeners. We persuade ourselves of the wisdom of listening to God and not the serpent. Self persuasion is the most effective persuasion. "You are not going to listen to the serpent anymore, are you?", God is asking us (John 20:29). "You have seen for yourself that the serpent is your enemy not your friend, right? (John 20:29). Your experience in godlessness proves this, no? (John 20:29)" Obedience is a short cut. God has figured it for us without us having to figure it out for ourselves. Obedience, that is, listening to God, saves us trouble. Self-verification is the alternative to obedience. In the case of Adam and Eve, they picked self-verification over obedience. They did it the hard way. They discovered for themselves that godlessness sucks. Taking God's word for it would have saved them and us a lot of tsuris. The silver lining in the dark cloud of godlessness is that when the gift of paradise is delivered to us, we won't abdicated it as our parents, Adam and Eve did, for godlessness. We won't repeat their original sin. The prodigal son is not going back to the pig sty and neither are we. We aren't idiots. Our sanity, when fed the truth, prevents us from opting out of paradise for godlessness.

Irrational Obedience

One of the lessons of Adam and Eve is that our faculty of obedience is broken. It malfunctions. God is not stupid. He knows better than to base his plan to rescue us from godlessness on it. He, therefore, bases his rescue plan on our faculty of rationality. Why? Because, when our faculty of rationality meets the truth, it steers us in the right direction - away from godlessness and towards paradise. Only a Church that does not understand how God's rescue plan works promotes irrational obedience. The Church promotes "dying to self" - a misconception that arises from Matthew 16:25.  "Dying to self" is the good suicide not the bad suicide in much the same way that Natural Family Planning is the good birth control not the bad birth control. In latching onto this misconception, the Church loses sight of our rationality, how the truth shatters the illusions that enslave us and how our rationality responds to the truth steering us in the right direction. In latching onto this misconception in the way that it does, the Church loses its bearings because it enters into the world of irrationality. It is not good live in the world of irrationality. It makes you dizzy. It is disorienting. What God is trying to tell us in Matthew 16:25 is the location of God.  Matthew 16:25 reveals where God is and where God is not. God is found not when we help ourselves but when we help our neighbors.  In Matthew 16:25, God is telling us that God is not found in serving ourselves but in serving others. Finding God is the most important thing that rational people can do to further their self-interest. Finding God is winning the lottery. Finding God is the treasure buried in the field. Finding God is the pearl of great price. Here is God Matthew 16:25 tells us. Make a beeline to Him. God is not promoting suicide. God is promoting philanthropy - love of neighbor. We do good to our neighbor because in doing so we find God. In addition, always keep in mind that we can love one another as he loved us because God has our back. When we realize that God has our back, we can afford to maximize the good we do for our neighbors and minimize the evil. We can afford to suffer the evil that our neighbors do to us. When we do not have such faith, we are selfish. We only think of ourselves not our neighbors. Maximizing the good we do our neighbors, minimizing the evil and suffering the evil our neighbors do us is only possible through faith that God has our back. Only faith in the generosity of God allows us to be generous to our neighbors. God will make good our loses. Our rationality allows us to be generous to our neighbors when we are confident that God has our back. When we lack such confidence, our rationality tells us to be selfish. So rest assured. God has our back. Have faith that God has your back so you can be godlike to your neighbors. There has been a dispute amongst Christians since the Son of God's visit about the relationship between faith and works. Faith that God has our back produces good works. They go hand in hand. The absence of good works is evidence of the absence of faith that God has our backs. When we are confident that God has our back, I'll say it again, we can afford to maximize the good we do for our neighbors and minimize the evil. We can afford to suffer the evil that our neighbors do to us. When we do not have such faith, we are selfish. We only think of ourselves not our neighbors. 

Godlessness is a Sinking Ship

Godlessness is a sinking ship. The job of the Church is not to save the ship. The job of the Church is to save the passengers. Abandon ship! Abandon ship! The Church shouts to the passengers. To the life boats! To the life boats! The Church yells. If the exigency is not felt, the Church is not doing its job.

The Telescope

The serpent, with lies, conjured up an illusion to hide the sweetness of paradise from us. This was one of two illusions. The other illusion sugarcoated the sourness of godlessness. The insertion of a brief delay between the gift of existence and the gift of paradise shatters the sugarcoating. During the delay, we get to taste for ourselves the sourness of godlessness. The delay, however, does nothing to reveal the sweetness of paradise. To penetrate the illusion that camouflages the reality of paradise from us, God gave us a powerful telescope. Through it, we can catch a glimpse of heaven from here on earth.  The telescope reveals the sweetness of paradise.  God hopes that a glimpse of the sweetness of paradise will induce us to seek it. It is the honey that draws the bees to the hive. We built the telescope when we opened the bloody wounds through which his life exited his body. When we look at the bloody wounds, we see only his sacrifice. We tortured and killed him while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth. When we look through them, however, we get a glimpse of heaven from here on earth. We see that 1) Jesus is God. He did not stay dead, 2) Divinity is love. He did not stop loving us, and 3) Love is generous - radically and insanely generous. He did not cancel the invitation he personally delivered to us to follow him back to our home with Him and his holy family in paradise. Catch a glimpse of heaven from here on earth. Look through the telescope.

He Paid the Cost of Our Salvation

Our Salvation came at a cost. It was not free.  In fact, the cost of our salvation was quite expensive. It required the payment of an exorbitant ransom. Yet, the Son of God willingly paid it.  Moreover, He paid the exorbitant ransom entirely out of His own pocket. He did not pass the hat amongst us to help defray the cost of our salvation even though the benefit was ours not His. He paid 100% of the exorbitant cost himself.  The enemies of the children of Adam and Eve say that He overpaid. They say that the price He paid was extravagant. It was too much. We were not worth it. He did not get his money's worth. He paid through the nose. Yet, He paid the price anyway. Furthermore, He did not pay the exorbitant price for our salvation from His limitless divine resources. He paid the price for our salvation 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 or anyone else. 

Imagine!

He suffered and died for sinners. Imagine how much more he is willing to do for saints!

Wow!

That He suffered and died for us tells us in no uncertain terms that there is nothing - nothing - that the Son of God won't do for us.

The Best Evidence of Our Value to Him

The exorbitant price He paid for us is the best evidence of our value to Him. It is an understatment to say that we are dear to Him

Why did He pay a Price for Our Salvation?

At Bethlehem, our God, who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands, personally delivered to us a love note and an invitation to follow him back to our home in paradise. The love note and the invitation were unique. They were alive. They lived and breathed. Jesus was the love note and invitation (John 1:1). Furthermore, He did not delegate the job of delivering the love note and the invitation to a subordinate. He delivered them himself. Why? A subordinate could not deliver the guarantee of their genuineness. Only He could deliver the guarantee of their genuineness.  God did not want us to have the slightest of doubts about the genuineness of the love note and the invitation. He did not want us asking ourselves the question, 'Were they counterfeit or genuine?'.  So God personally delivered to us a guarantee of their genuineness as well. How? He put the love note and the guarantee to the test (Deuteronomy 6:16) (Matthew 4:7) (Proverbs 17:3). He submitted them to the furnace of torture and death. Would they survive? If God's love for us were counterfeit, His love for us would have faded as we tortured Him and died when we killed Him. If God's invitation to follow him back home to paradise were counterfeit, torturing and killing him would provoke him into cancelling the invitation. Both survived the test. He did not stop loving us. He did not cancel the invitation. Their survival is the proof of their genuineness. Moreover, that He did not stay dead is proof that Jesus is God. The test verified that the love note and invitation were genuine and that He was capable of delivering his promise of abundant life (John 10:10). Therefore, repent. Pick up the roots you have put down in the hostile desert of godlessness and make your escape. Turn around. That is all it takes.  "The mind's direction is more important than its progress." Joseph Joubert

Summary of the Highlights of the Visit of the Son of God to Us

More than two thousand years ago at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East, the Son of God paid us a visit. He paid us a visit not on a level above us as befits a god but humbly on the same level as us as one of us - an equal to us in our humanity - a partner with us in our suffering. They say he pitched a tent amongst us. Here are the highlights of his approximately thirty-three year visit:

  • The delivery of the love note and the invitation
    • (Proof that Jesus is humble)
  • The test of their genuineness
    • We tortured him (Proof that Jesus is courageous).
    • We killed him (Proof that Jesus is Man).
  • The delivery of the guarantee of the genuineness of the love note and invitation - they survived the test
    • He did not stay dead (Proof that Jesus is God).
    • He did not stop loving us (Proof that Divinity is love).
    • He did not cancel the invitation to follow him back to our home with him and his holy family in paradise (Proof that love is generous - radically and abundantly generous).

To whom did He pay the ransom? 

To whom did He pay the ransom? He paid the ransom to us. He paid the ransom to us in the coin of suffering and death to verify that the love note and the invitation were genuine. Both survived the evil we did to him. Their survival is their guarantee of genuineness.

In the Wrong Hands, the Crucifix can be an Instrument of Misdirection

The Crucifixion is not a single event. It consists of five significant events - yes, five (5) - each of which radiates the glory of God. Yet, the Crucifix is but one object. One object points to five (5) events. Many who hold it high do not see the full spectrum of its glory. A photograph, because it captures a moment, is incapable of capturing all of the events of the Crucifixion. Only a film, because it captures multiple moments, is able to capture the all of the events of the Crucifixion. In the wrong hands, the Crucifix is more akin to a photograph than a film. Failing to understand all five (5) events of the Crucifixion, nips the unfolding of its glory in the bud. It sabotages the flower of the Crucifixion before its glory has the chance to fully bloom. What are the five events of the Crucifixion? 

  1. We tortured him.
    • We launched a freight train of evil toward him. Remarkably, He stood in its path. He did not flinch. He did not cower. He did not jump out of the way. He took it on the chin. He stood firm and, by standing firm, stopped evil's progress dead in its tracks. The serpent's plan failed. Evil hit a wall. The wall that evil hit was Jesus. At his bloody wounds, evil was stopped short of its objective. Its objective was to extinguish God's love for us. It was not allowed to reach its destination. Jesus allowed it to progress so far and no farther. That He met the freight train of evil head on is proof that Jesus was courageous - exceptionally courageous.
  2. We killed him.
    • That He died is proof that He was human. Humans die. He died. Therefore, Jesus was human. 
  3. He did not stay dead.
    • That He did not stay dead is proof that Jesus was God. Resurrection is a power of God.
  4. He did not stop loving us.
    • That He did not stop loving us is proof that Divinity is love. At Bethlehem, the Son of God personally delivered a love note to us. It was a unique love note. It lived and breathed. He was the love note. However, it wasn't enough for God to personally deliver a love note to us. God also delivered to us proof of its genuineness. If the love note were counterfeit, His love for us would have faded as we tortured Him and died when we killed Him. But it did not. His love for us survived. Its survival is a guarantee of genuineness. Its survival is irrefutable evidence that the love note delivered to us at Bethlehem is genuine. The serpent's objective by inducing us to torture and kill the Son of God while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest here upon the earth was to extinguish the love that burns like a bonfire for us in His most sacred heart. The serpent failed far short of his objective. Not only did he not extinguish God's love for us, he failed to reduce it by even the slightest degree. Jesus continued to love us nonetheless. His love for us is immune to our evil. Intransigent is His love for us. It is indestructible.
  5. He did not cancel the invitation that he personally delivered to us to follow him back to our home with him and his holy family in paradise.
    • That He did not cancel the invitation is proof that love is generous - radically and abundantly generous. His love for us is independent of the evil we did to Him. There is no connection. 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. The God who fashioned us out of the mud with His hands put Himself into the hands of the mud to save the mud despite the unworthiness of the mud. 

Most see only the first two events of the Crucifixion, that is the sacrifice of the lamb on the altar of torture and death. In addition, they see that He did not stay dead - the proof that Jesus was God. These three events of the Crucifixion, however, do not constitute the full picture of the Crucifixion. They are only a partial picture. The Crucifixion is a puzzle with five pieces not three. They rush. They rush from his death to his resurrection - from Good Friday to Easter - to get the proof that Jesus is God onto the table. However, in their rush, they skip the sweetness of paradise. They skip the ingredients of the story of the Crucifixion that gives paradise its sweetness. They skip the fact that God did not stop loving us. And they skip the fact that God did not cancel the invitation to follow Him back to our home with Him in paradise. Skipping these two events distorts the meaning of the Crucifixion. How can the sweetness of paradise be skipped? The Son of God showed us the sweetness of paradise to induce us to seek it. It is the honey the lures the bees home to the hive.

Interregnum

Have you taken notice that there are plenty of things Christian to talk about besides sin? The sin mongers do not know how to talk about Christianity without talking about sin. They have no clue about the Big Picture of Christianity. The sin mongers manage the septic system of sin. They do not know how to talk about Christianity without talking about sin. Their ignorance of the Big Picture of Christianity handicaps them. It lessens their value to the Church. Moreover, their role in the Church is overemphasized. They are the ones who overemphasize it. Sin, according to the sin mongers, eclipses the Big Picture of Christianity. Sin, not Jesus, the man-God, is the foundation of the Church. They are morbidly obsessed with sin. Their morbid obsession with sin is driving good Christians away from the Church. 

How does God inoculate us against Post Delivery Paradise Opt Out (PDPOO)? What is the vaccine?

How does God stop us from repeating the sin of our parents, Adam and Eve? When the gift of paradise is delivered to us, how does God ensure that we keep it? The theory that the beatific vision imprisons us in paradise after the gift of paradise is delivered to us is contradicted by the evidence. Adam abdicated paradise after the gift of paradise had been delivered to him. Eve abdicated paradise after the gift of paradise had been delivered to her. Lucifer abdicated paradise after the gift of paradise had been delivered to him. The gaggle of angels who followed Lucifer abdicated paradise after the gift of paradise had been delivered to them. The evidence indicates that when the possibility of a superior alternative place to live is a viable option on the table, the sweetness of paradise is not sufficient to keep us there. God respects our freedom to exit stage left even though our departure is self-destructive. We can shoot ourselves in the foot if we want to. In theory, God tolerates our stupidity. In reality, God is betting on our sanity and on the truth. He knows from Adam and Eve that our faculty of obedience is broken. Therefore, to preserve our freedom but prevent us from opting out of paradise after the gift of paradise is delivered to us, the illusion of a superior alternative place to live needs to be shattered. How? Reality shatters illusion. The truth sets us free. The sledgehammer of truth shatters the illusions conjured up by the lies of the serpent.  The truth about the sourness of godlessness and the sweetness of paradise are the engines that drive sane people on the escape route from godlessness to paradise.

God is betting on that our sanity will work when exposed to the truth

God did not design his rescue plan around our faculty of obedience. If any lesson is taught by the story of Adam and Eve it is the lesson that our faculty of obedience is broken. It is unreliable. It is prone to malfunction. Therefore, God is betting on the truth and our sanity. God is betting that, when our rational self-interest is exposed to the truth, we will flee the sourness of godlessness and seek the sweetness of paradise. The truth sets sane people free to pursue their self-interest.

Basic Training

Why shall we accept the invitation to follow him back to our home with him and his holy family in paradise? Why follow Him? Before we can decide, we need to know Him.  Getting to know the Son of God is part of basic training. It belongs to that part of basic training that deals with the sweetness of paradise. In basic training, the sledgehammer of truth is wielded against the illusions conjured up by the serpent to shatter them as the blow of a hammer shatters glass.  There are two illusions. One illusion camouflages the sweetness of paradise. The second illusion sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness. The sledgehammer of truth shatters both of them. When the illusions are shattered and reality is apprehended, our sanity induces us to flee the sourness of godlessness and seek the sweetness of paradise. The truth sets us free. Sane people do not stay still in the hostile desert. It is too dangerous. Sane people do not seek the sourness of godlessness. That is the definition of insanity. Sane people, when fed the truth, become pilgrims instead of settlers. We pull up the roots we have set down in the hostile desert of godlessness. We make our escape from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his holy family in the promised land. We reverse direction. We repent. In its haste, however, to give the children of Adam and Eve advanced training in Christianity, the Church has stopped - yes stopped - putting the children of Adam and Eve through basic training. This is the Church's great mistake. As a result of the mistake, Churches are merging or closing. Fewer and fewer are going to Mass. None are going to confession. The only sacrament holding its own is the sacrament of extreme unction and this is so only because the dead do not have a choice. It is time, therefore, for a change in strategy. No change in doctrine. Just a change in emphasis. A tweak, nothing more. 

CompStat

There are other scandals in the Church but none worse - none - than the failure of the Church, the new Moses, to lead the children of Adam and Eve in a new Exodus. Fewer and fewer of us go to Mass; none are going to Confession. The New York City Police Department runs a program of self-criticism called CompStat by which it uses crime statistics to evaluate the job performance of its bosses. Given the deplorable Catholic statistics, if such a program were applied to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, many heads would roll.

The Conversation

Listen. Open your ears to hear. What do you hear? What is the content of the conversation? There is nothing about the Big Picture of Christianity. There is nothing about shattering the illusions conjured up by the serpent with the sledgehammers of truth. There is nothing about the sweetness of paradise or the sourness of godlessness. There is nothing about the truth that sets us free. There is nothing about the escape from godlessness to paradise that the truth induces us to make. Not a peep. The conversation is all about sin, sin and more sin. Sin does not induce us to make our escape. The sourness of godlessness and the sweetness of paradise induce us to make our escape. The settlers who have put down roots into the hostile desert of godlessness are not interested in the Church's opinion about sin. Only the pilgrims who are passing through it have an interest in sin - more or less. The first goal of the Church is to help God transform settlers into pilgrims. Thereafter, the goal is to optimize their conduct here on earth by offering them the Church's official rules and regulations. Get them escaping first. Only when they are escaping do they develop to a greater or lesser degree a respect for the official rules and regulations of the Church. Basic training before advanced training.

The Same Old Song

When the Church replays the same old song whose lyrics are about the cesspools of sin and nothing else, again and again, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred sixty-five days a year, non-stop, without a break, only an idiot would think that the audience of the Church will continue to listen and not tune out. "But it is a great song!" the Grand Poobahs of the Church say to themselves not understanding why the audience is shrinking. "How about playing some tunes from the 'Big Picture of Christianity' for a change?"  Churches are closing or merging. Fewer and fewer are going to Mass. No one is going to Confession. The only sacrament holding its own is the sacrament of extreme unction and this is so only because the dead do not have a choice. Isn't it a time to play a different tune? No change in doctrine. Just a change in emphasis. A tweak, nothing more. 

The Map of the Escape Route

To facilitate our escape from godlessness to paradise, God established an escape route, defined the escape route with holy places, made a map of them, founded a Church, and entrusted the map to the Church. The map tells the Church the way from here to there. 'How do we get from here to there?'.  By virtue of the map, the Church knows the way. The Church is the trustee of the map. It holds the map for the benefit of the children of Adam and Eve. All of the children of Adam and Eve are the beneficiaries of the trust that God established - not just some. As trustee of the map, the Church has a fiduciary duty to share the map with the beneficiaries of the trust so they can make their escape. The job of the Church is not to filter the escapees (Matthew 7:1-5) but to facilitate their escape. The job of the Church is not to deny fugitives from godlessness access to the holy places that define the escape route. The job of the Church is to welcome fugitives - to give them sanctuary at the holy places - to show them hospitality.  Hospitality is expected from the trustee of the map. Yet, its role as trustee of the map has made the Church's head swell. Instead of being the servant of the escape, the Church has made itself the master of the escape. It has become an obstacle in the way of the escape instead of grease for the wheels of the escape. It imposes conditions upon the escape. It taxes the escape. It imposes hurdles over which the children of Adam and Eve must leap. The gift of paradise is a gift. A gift has no strings attached. A gift is free or it is not a gift. God is offering the gift of paradise to anyone and everyone who wants it. The perfect generosity of God cannot do otherwise. The Church, however, holds the opinion that we must earn the gift of paradise by meeting conditions found in the fine print of the declaration of gift. But a gift that is earned is not a gift. We do not earn the gift of paradise. It is given to us if we indicate to God in even the weakest, most pathetic way that we want it (Matthew 20:1-16). Metanoia. Repent. Acceptance is done simply by turning to God. 

The New Exodus

We are making our escape, hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm, enthused by the Holy Spirit, together as one Church on the escape route from godlessness to paradise marching to the joyful beat of the loving heart of Jesus. 

The Needle of the Compass that Always Points to God

The movement of the new exodus forms the needle of the compass that always points to God. 

How can We be sure that We are heading in the Right Direction?

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

The Importance of the Escape

The escape from godlessness to God is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect. 

The New Moses

The Church is the New Moses. However, it is not the master of the escape. The Church is the servant of the escape. Its job is to facilitate the escape from godlessness to paradise not frustrate it. It is the grease for the wheels of the escape not the obstacle in its way.

The Job of the New Moses

The job of the Church is to get the children of Adam and Eve to become part of the process of seeking God and fleeing godlessness and to keep them part of the process. Being part of the process transforms them. A child of Adam and Eve who is making his escape is different than one who is not. They are more likely to maximize the good they do for their neighbors and minimize the evil. They are more likely to forgive their neighbor for the evil their neighbor has done to them. In short, they are more likely to behave in accordance with a code of morality.

The Tug of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is tugging at our souls and the curious are following the tug to its source.

Safari

Christians do not read about safari. Christians go on safari. They experience God here on earth at the holy places that define the escape route from godlessness to paradise. The father of the prodigal son sees you as you return from godlessness to paradise and, when he sees you, He runs into godlessness to meet and greet you. This takes place at the holy places that define the escape route. The holy places are where you can meet and greet God in the hostile desert of godlessness. "I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day; I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way." -Edgar Guest, poet (20 Aug 1881-1959)

We become Christians Feet First Not Head First

We become Christians feet first not head first. The head follows the feet.

Catechesis

Like a teacher, the Church shares its knowledge of God with us. The Church is not a monster who tries to ram doctrine down our throats against our wills by dint of its omnipotence. Doing so, triggers our gag reflex. We regurgitate it.

Exploration vs. Indoctrination

We are explorers not the docile victims of indoctrination. We explore the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God. For more than two thousand years, the Church has been our tour guide taking the children of Adam and Eve on expeditions exploring the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God. The Church does not teach us about God. The Church shows us God and God himself teaches us. The Church provides the introduction and God does the rest.

God is not memorized. God is Experienced

We do not memorize God. We experience God.

Explorers

Many try to evaluate our Christianity by measuring the degree to which our thinking agrees with the official thinking of the Church. When the deviation is too great, the sanctimonious gleefully strip the label of Christian from us in the same manner that the military cashiers a soldier for a grievous breach of discipline. This attempt at ceremonial degradation is done by small minded Christians who do not understand the work of Christianity. Christianity is more about the movement of the feet than the content of the head. The true yardstick for measuring a Christian is not the yardstick of what we think. It is the yardstick of what we seek. A religious person is a person who seeks God and flees from godlessness on an escape route defined by holy places at which close encounters with the living God take place. A Catholic religious person does his or her escaping by passing from Catholic holy place to Catholic holy place that define the Catholic escape route. The thinking of a religious person is a byproduct of encounters with the living God at the holy places. A religious person goes on Safari. A religious person does not read about the Safari or think about the Safari. A religious person experiences God. A religious person does not memorized God. It is only possible to control the inputs not the outputs. The most the Church can do is to get a person moving on the escape route and keep a person moving. Transformation is then God's job. The Church can only introduce us to God. Its God's job to do the rest. Our conversion is in God's hands not the Church's. How does the Church get us to make our escape? Simple. The Church wields the sledgehammer of truth to shatter the illusion conjured up by the lies of the serpent that sugarcoat the sourness of godlessness. The Church wields the sledgehammer of truth to shatter the illusion conjured up by the lies of the serpent that camouflage the sweetness of paradise. The illusions shatter as a hammer shatters glass. Set free from the illusions, our sanity induces us to flee the sourness of godlessness and seek the sweetness of paradise. The truth sets us free. If the Church takes care of the inputs and God will take care of the outputs. Get the feet moving and head will follow.

The Potential Difference

A potential difference exists between paradise and godlessness. Since Adam and Eve, God and the serpent are battling for control of the potential difference. Control determines whether the current flows from paradise to godlessness or from godlessness to paradise. The serpent, by feeding us lies, duped us into thinking that a life lived as gods in godlessness would be superior to a life lived with God in paradise. His lies gave him control over the potential difference. The current flowed from paradise to godlessness sweeping Adam and Eve away from paradise and into godlessness. Adam and Eve rode the serpent to damnation. To rescue the children of Adam and Eve, God is trying to reverse the potential difference by feeding us the truth. Godlessness is sour. Paradise is sweet. The truth about the sourness of godlessness and the sweetness of paradise shatters the illusions to the contrary conjured up by the lies of the serpent. The truth sets us free. The truth creates a potential difference in the direction of paradise from godlessness. All that was needed to get the current of salvation to flow is a conductor. Jesus became the conductor. He is the bridge between the world of godlessness and the world of paradise. He is the way, etc. Through His bloody wounds, the new exodus is making its escape. The children of Adam and Eve are riding Jesus to salvation.

Push and Pull

The sourness of godlessness pushes us to its exit. The sweetness of paradise pulls us to its entrance. They are the two engines that drive the escape. They generate the current of salvation. The only component that was needed to induce the current of salvation to flow was a conductor. God supplied the conductor. Jesus is the way, etc. Through his bloody wounds, we make our escape.

As We left so Shall We Return

Our departure from paradise and our return to it will be accomplished in the same way.  We left paradise in pursuit of a better way of life. We shall return in pursuit of the same. Lies seduced us to leave paradise. The truth will induce us to return. Lies conjured up an illusion. The appeal is to our sanity. Our sanity, when fed the truth, steers us in the right direction. Lies induced us to exit paradise. The truth will induce us to return.

Live Bait on the Sharp Hook

The most Holy Trinity allowed us to bait the sharp hook of salvation with live bait and cast the rig into the cesspools of sin to fish for the children of Adam and Eve. 

Near Side / Far Side of the Bloody Wounds

On the near side of the bloody wounds we opened in his body is the evil we did to him. We tortured and killed him while he was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest here upon the earth. However, the bloody wounds are not one-dimensional. They have two sides not just one. They have a far side was well as a near side. On the far side of the bloody wounds is his indestructible love for us. 

The Dial

The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Furthermore, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place.

The Piñata

We hung him from a tree as we would a piñata, beat Him to a bloody pulp with sticks, killed him and, in the process of torturing and killing him, exposed his most sacred heart for all to see. What did the evil we did to him reveal? Not a drop of his love for us - not a drop - exited his body. His life exited his body through the bloody wounds we opened in it but not a drop of his love for us. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us.

Through His Bloody Wounds, Life, but not Love, exited His Body.

His life exited his body through the bloody wounds we opened in it.  Through the bloody wounds we opened in his body, life departed. Through them, life returns. They were the exit for His life so they could become the entrance for our lives. Through them, He went from life to death. Through them, we go from death to life. The children of Adam and Eve pass through the bloody wounds on their way back home to paradise from godlessness. How so? The bloody wounds are windows that reveal the sweetness of paradise. The bloody wounds we opened in his body were the key that unlocked the apocalypse. Indeed, the evil we did to him opened the bloody wounds through which his life exited his body. We tortured and killed him while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest here upon the earth. This was the ignominious defeat. But, what was the glorious victory? Reality does not exist in a single layer. It has depth. Multiple layers give reality its depth. The ignominious defeat took place on the skin of reality. The glorious victory, however, took place on the subcutaneous layer of reality. To see the glorious victory, we must look through the bloody wounds to the subcutaneous layer of reality underneath. On the skin of reality, we see that his life exited his body through the bloody wounds. On the subcutaneous layer of reality, we see something extraordinary. We see what did not exit his body through the bloody wounds. His love for us did not exit his body. We tortured him but He did not stop loving us. He continued to love us nonetheless. The dial that regulates his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Through the bloody wounds his life, but not his love, exited his body. His life spilled through the bloody wounds we opened in his body but not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. Moreover, we killed him but he did not stay dead. Furthermore, He did not cancel his invitation to us to come back to our home in paradise with Him and His holy family. His love for us is the sweetness of paradise. It draws the new exodus to it as honey that draws the bees back to the hive. Attracted by the sweetness of paradise, the new exodus is making its escape from godlessness through the bloody wounds we opened in his body as the moth is attracted to the flame. There is no other way to get home. We cannot go around the bloody wounds. We cannot go over them. We cannot go under them. We cannot avoid them. The only way to paradise is through them. We go through them as we go through a door because the sweetness of paradise is waiting for us on the other side of them. 

The Sledgehammers of Truth Shatter the Illusions that Distort Reality

The lies of the serpent created illusions - two illusions. The illusions sugarcoat the sourness of godlessness and camouflage the sweetness of paradise. The illusions seduced us to opt out of paradise for godlessness. God wields the sledgehammers of truth to shatter the illusions as a hammer shatters glass. There are two sledgehammers of truth, one for each illusion. One sledgehammer shatters the sugarcoating that hides from us the sourness of godlessness. The other sledgehammer shatters the camouflage that hides the sweetness of paradise.  Once the illusions are shattered, our sanity induces us to head in the right direction. Fed the truth, we flee the sourness of godlessness and seek the sweetness of paradise.

The Five (5) Events of the Crucifixion

Five (5) events that took place during the Crucifixion each of which radiate the glory of God. 

  1. We tortured him.
    • We launched a freight train of evil toward him. Remarkably, He stood in its path. He did not flinch. He did not cower. He did not jump out of the way. He took it on the chin. He stood firm and, by standing firm, stopped evil's progress dead in its tracks. The serpent's plan failed. Evil hit a wall. The wall that evil hit was Jesus. At his bloody wounds, evil was stopped short of its objective. Its objective was to extinguish God's love for us. It was not allowed to reach its destination. Jesus allowed it to progress so far and no farther. That He met the freight train of evil head on is proof that Jesus was courageous - exceptionally courageous.
  2. We killed him.
    • That He died is proof that He was human. Humans die. He died. Therefore, Jesus was human. 
  3. He did not stay dead.
    • That He did not stay dead is proof that Jesus was God. Resurrection is a power of God.
  4. He did not stop loving us.
    • That He did not stop loving us is proof that Divinity is love. At Bethlehem, the Son of God personally delivered a love note to us. It was a unique love note. It lived and breathed. He was the love note. However, it wasn't enough for God to personally deliver a love note to us. God also delivered to us proof of its genuineness. If the love note were counterfeit, His love for us would have faded as we tortured Him and died when we killed Him. But it did not. His love for us survived. Its survival is a guarantee of genuineness. Its survival is irrefutable evidence that the love note delivered to us at Bethlehem is genuine. The serpent's objective by inducing us to torture and kill the Son of God while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest here upon the earth was to extinguish the love that burns like a bonfire for us in His most sacred heart. The serpent failed far short of his objective. Not only did he not extinguish God's love for us, he failed to reduce it by even the slightest degree. Jesus continued to love us nonetheless. His love for us is immune to our evil. Intransigent is His love for us. It is indestructible.
  5. He did not cancel the invitation that he personally delivered to us to follow him back to our home with him and his holy family in paradise.
    • That He did not cancel the invitation is proof that love is generous - radically and abundantly generous. His love for us is independent of the evil we did to Him. There is no connection. 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. 

The mud was in trouble. The mud needed help. The God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands could have dispatched a subordinate to help the mud. He could have sent a flunky. But He did not. He did the job himself. The God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands put himself into the hands of the mud. He became mud to save the mud. His job was to show the mud the sweetness of paradise. He showed us the sweetness of paradise by his truly radical - utterly unexpected - response to the evil we did to him. How different is our God from us and from other gods! It is hoped that His revelation of the sweetness of paradise would be the honey that lures the bees back to the hive. 

The Crucifixion is a Movie with Five Significant Frames not a Single Photograph

A photograph cannot fairly and accurately represent the Crucifixion. Only a movie can capture the five significant stages of the Crucifixion. 1) We tortured Him, 2) We killed Him, 3) He did not stay dead, 4) He did not stop loving us, and 5) He did not cancel the Invitation to come back to our home with Him and His holy family in paradise. Unfortunately, most Christian advocates are photographers not filmmakers. They do not shoot movies. They take a picture. They concentrate their photography on the sacrifice, that is, stages 1 and 2 of the Crucifixion. They ignore stages 3, 4, and 5. They see only the ignominious defeat. They are blind to the glorious victory. They only see part of the picture. They do not see the complete picture. They miss the point. They see only the set up and not the punch line. Imagine - going through life without every experiencing the punch line. Their narrow focus distorts the meaning of the Crucifixion. They see only the Ouch! and not the Wow!. The point of transition from Ouch! to Wow! occurs at the point His life exited the bloody wounds we opened in his body. What preceded this moment is the Ouch! What succeeded this moment is the Wow! For a proper understanding of the Crucifixion, we must consider both the Ouch! and the Wow!. The Ouch! is the guarantee of genuineness of the Wow!. The Ouch! is the incontrovertible proof that Jesus is God, that Divinity is love and that love is generous. No Ouch!; no proof.

A Vile Calumny

Let me make a statement that many Christians will call a vile calumny: The Cross is not well understood in Christianity. Only one side of the Cross is well understood, that is, its near side The Cross, however, has two sides. Its other side, that is, its far side is overlooked and the connection between the two sides of the Cross is not well understood at all.

How many sides of the Cross do you see?

How many sides of the Cross do you see? If you only see one side of the Cross, you are missing its best part. There are two sides to the Cross not one: 1) the near side and 2) the far side. The bloody wounds we opened in the body of our savior, the Son of God, when He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth are windows that allow us to see from the near side of the Cross to the far side of the Cross. On the near side of the Cross, one story is unfolding. It is the story of utter failure - of ignominious defeat - of terrible suffering - of the apparent victory of evil over good. However, on the far side of the Cross, a different story is unfolding. It is the story of triumphant success - of glorious victory.  It is the story of the contents of the most sacred heart of the Son of God. It is the story of intransigent love. To understand the Cross, we must consider both sides of the Cross in conjunction with each other. Our failure to consider both sides of the Cross produces a defective understanding of it.

The Rush from His Death to His Resurrection

In the rush to get from His death to His Resurrection, we skip over the most important parts. We go from Chapter 1 to Chapter 3 without pausing at Chapter 2. In Chapter 1, we tortured and killed Him while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest here on earth. This is the proof of our depravity. In Chapter 3, He did not stay dead. This is the proof that Jesus is God. But what happens in Chapter 2? In Chapter 2, He did not stop loving us. This is the proof that divinity is love. In Chapter 2, He did not cancel the invitation he extended to us to return to our home with him in paradise from our exile in godlessness. This is the proof that Love is generous. Chapter 2 is the sweetness of paradise. It contains the honey that draws the bees back to the hive. Never skip Chapter 2. It is the most important part of the story of the Crucifixion. Without Chapter 2, the story of the Crucifixion is incomplete. Without Chapter 2, our understanding of the story of the Crucifixion is defective.

Reality

Reality does not exist in a single layer. Reality has depth. Its depth comes from its multiple layers.

Look not just at the bloody wounds - Look through them

Is the glass half empty or half full? When you look at the Cross, do you exclaim, 'Ouch! Look how he suffered!' or 'Wow! Look how he loved!'. Some only see the sacrifice. Their mistake is that they look at the bloody wounds we opened in the body of Christ but look no farther. They stop on the surface. Their vision has no depth. They only see the bad part of the sequence of holy events that constitutes the Crucifixion not the good part. The bloody wounds are windows. They were "installed" for us to look through them not to stop at them. When we look through them, we see the He did not stay dead (Jesus is God), He did not stop loving us (Divinity is love) and He did not cancel the invitation he delivered to us to come back to our home with him and his holy family in paradise (Love is generous). Therefore, do not be shortsighted. Do not just look at the bloody wounds. Look through them. The bloody wounds are on the skin of reality. The skin of reality holds the sourness of godlessness. There is more to reality than meets the eye. When we look through the bloody wounds, we see a subcutaneous layer of reality on which resides the sweetness of paradise. The apparent "defeat" took place on the skin of reality. The real "victory" took place on the subcutaneous layer of reality. Look at them and look through them. See the whole picture not half of the picture.

What is the lesson of the Cross? 

What is the lesson of the Cross? This is a multiple choice question but only one answer is correct. A) The lesson of the Cross is to embrace suffering. B) The lesson of the Cross is to embrace love regardless of the cost. The correct answer is B. The Cross is not God’s recommendation of suffering to us. The Cross is God’s recommendation to love - to love despite the cost.

God is not a Sadist

God is not a sadist. God is a philanthropist.

God is trying to help us not hurt us

God is trying to help us. God is not trying to hurt us. God is trying to rescue us from godlessness. God is planning to deliver to us the gift of paradise. God, however, does not want us to repeat the mistake of our parents, Adam and Eve. They opted out of paradise after the gift of paradise had been delivered to them. When God delivers to us the gift of paradise, God wants us to keep it. God understands the lesson of the prodigal son. The sweetness of his father's house was not enough to keep him there. The prodigal son thought there was a superior, alternative place in which to dwell. So he departed. Eventually, the sugarcoating that attracted him to this superior, alternative place disintegrated. The prodigal son, enlightened by the truth, returned to his father's house. The prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty. Neither are we.

The Mystery of why God allows evil in the world Solved.

Why does God allow evil in the world? Evil is harsh but effective medicine. It is one of the two sledgehammers of truth - the other is the sweetness of paradise - that shatters the illusion conjured up by the serpent of a superior, alternative to paradise. Our own personal experience of the sourness of godlessness stops us from repeating the mistake of our parents, Adam and Eve. When the gift of paradise is delivered to us, we will keep it. We will never abdicate paradise for godlessness. The prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty and neither are we. Our personal experience with godlessness prevents us from abdicating paradise.

The Guarantee of Genuineness

If the love note that God delivered to us at Bethlehem were counterfeit, at Calvary, His love for us would have faded as we tortured him and would have died when we killed him. But it did not. It survived. The survival of his love for us is the guarantee that the love note is genuine.

The Brevity of Life Proves the Mercy of God

Life is but an infinitesimally thin slice of time when we compare it to the thickness of eternity. The brevity of life proves the mercy of God. 

The Prodigal Son, the Pig Sty and the House of the Father

The prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty and neither are we.

The Delay

The policy in effect with Adam and Eve was to deliver the gift of existence and the gift of paradise simultaneously. This policy changed with the children of Adam and Eve. God inserted a delay between the delivery of the gift of existence and the delivery of the gift of paradise. The purpose of the delay is to shatter the illusion conjured up by the serpent that sugarcoated the sour reality of godlessness. During the delay, we experience for ourselves the sourness of godlessness. The prodigal son was dipped into the pig sty and so are we. The experiences makes us come to our senses. It is bracing. It restores our sanity. It wakes us up. It shatters the illusion. Dipping us into the harsh and sour reality of godlessness is harsh but effective medicine. It reduces the likelihood that we will opt out of paradise after the gift of paradise is delivered to us to near zero. What stops the medicine from crossing the line from harsh into cruel is the brevity of life. The brevity of life proves the mercy of God. Life is but an infinitesimally thin slice of time when we compare it to the thickness of eternity. 

He stood in the Path of Our Evil and Stopped its Progress Dead in its Tracks (or Let's Eat)

The serpent induced us to torture and kill the Son of God while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest here upon the earth. The serpent's foul hope was that such a loathsome insult to the person of the Son of God would extinguish His love for us. In accordance with the serpent's plan, we launched a locomotive of evil at him. It charged at him as an angry rhinoceros charges - as an angry bull charges the matador who waves the red cape. Remarkably, He stood in its path. He did not flinch. He did not cower. He did not jump out of the way. He took it on the chin. He stood firm and, by standing firm, stopped evil's progress dead in its tracks. The serpent's plan failed. Evil hit a wall. The wall that evil hit was Jesus. At his bloody wounds, evil was stopped short of its objective. It was not allowed to reach its destination. By stopping evil before it achieved its goal, Jesus produced an apocalypse. He revealed to us both his nature and the nature of divinity. He revealed the sweetness of paradise. He showed us the honey that lures the bees back to the hive. Indeed, evil produced the bloody wounds in his body through which his life exited his body. However, this was evil's only ill effect. Evil reached this far and no farther. The evil we did to him did not reach into his heart to extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us. Evil was denied access. We tortured him but He did not stop loving us. He continued to love us nonetheless. Furthermore, we killed him but He did not stay dead. His death proves that He is human. His Resurrection proves that He is God. That He did not stop loving us, however, proves something much more significant than his divinity. It proves that divinity is love itself. If he did not stay dead but stopped loving us, His Resurrection would have posed a grave threat to humanity rather than the happy invitation to return home to paradise with him and his holy family. P.S.  It takes more than a wee bit of courage to stand in the path of the charging locomotive of evil, don't you think? Few of us have such courage, unfortunately.  Few of us are willing to take evil on the chin. We flinch. We cower. We jump out of the way. We do anything but stand firm. We allow evil to transform us. We give evil access to our hearts. But, He did it. He let evil steamroll over him. He did not want to let it (Luke 22:42) but He let it. He let evil torture and kill him but did not let it transform him. He realized that the success of God's plan to rescue us from godlessness depended on putting incontrovertible proof of the sweetness of paradise into the hands of the children of Adam and Eve. Our God is different. “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty!" Our God is different than us and other gods. If our God is willing to do this for sinners, imagine what he is willing to do for saints!  Where do I sign up? How do I enlist? How do I join the kingdom of this Jesus who does not stay dead and who does not stop loving me? I am banging on the door to his kingdom while shouting, 'Let me in.' 'Please, God, let me in.' But, through the din of my imploring, my banging and my shouting, I hear a knock from the other side of the door and it startles me. It is not the echo of my knock. Someone is knocking on the other side of the door. Will wonders never cease? "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20). I hear your voice, Lord, and I am opening the door. Are you hungry, my Lord? Me too. Let's eat.

 

The Ratio between Pilgrim and Settler is Backwards and It is the Church's Fault

We are either pilgrims making our escape through the hostile desert of godlessness or settlers who have put down roots into it. There are presently more settlers than pilgrims. The backwardness of the ratio has consequences. Pilgrims tend to respect the official rules and regulations of morality. Settlers do not. The more a pilgrim is invested in the escape from godlessness to paradise, the more the official rules and regulations of morality make sense. The less invested, the less sense they make. Therefore, the trick is to convert settlers into pilgrims. How is this done? By shattering the illusion conjured up by the lies of the serpent that a life lived as gods in godlessness is superior to a life lived with God in paradise. The possibility of a superior, alternative to paradise must be taken off the table as a viable option. What shatters the illusion? What takes godlessness off the table as a viable alternative to paradise? The sledgehammers of truth. When wielded against the illusion, they shatter it. The truth sets us free.  What are the sledgehammers of truth? They are a particular subset of truth not truth in general. The truth about the sourness of godlessness and the truth about the sweetness of paradise are the truths that shatter the illusion. Fed the truth, sane people flee from the sourness of godlessness and seek the sweetness of paradise. Our sanity, when exposed to the truth, takes us home. The Church, however, has stopped wielding the sledgehammers of truth. The Church no longer has any idea what they even are. They are stored in a closet somewhere.  As a result, Churches are closing or merging. Fewer and fewer are going to Mass. No one is going to confession. The escape from godlessness to God is stalling. It is running out of steam. The current of salvation is coming to a stop because the Church has devoted itself to its official rules and regulations instead of the escape from the sourness of godlessness to the sweetness of paradise. It has skipped basic training. Without basic training, advanced training in the official rules and regulations is of no interest to anybody. The dismal statistics are proof.

To Reverse the Decline of the Church, Stop Skipping the First Stage of Evangelization

Conversion is not instantaneous. It happens in stages. We do not pop out of the egg of Christianity fully fledged. We are not born as adults but as infants. The sanctimonious do not understand that conversion is a process that has a sequence of stages. They belittle Christians whose orthodoxy does not measure up to theirs with the epithet, 'cafeteria', in a misguided and futile attempt to shame them into total and abject compliance with the official rules and regulations of the Church. Conversion does not work that way. The sanctimonious ought to keep their insults to themselves. They do harm not good. The sanctimonious do not understand the multiple stages of conversion and, because they do not understand, they expect too much from us. Conversion takes place step-by-step. Furthermore, the first stage of conversion is the foundation upon which all other things "Christian" are built. Without the first stage - without the foundation, the house of conversion cannot be built. It is impossible. Yet, the Church is skipping the first stage of Evangelization - the Church is skipping the foundation. The Church does not address the first stage of Christian conversion in the conversation but ignores it. As a result, the Church is in a tailspin - a decline. To reverse the decline of the Church, the Church must stop skipping the first stage of Evangelization. The Church must once again lay the foundation instead of assuming that a foundation exists. What is the first stage of conversion? What, therefore, ought to be the first stage of Evangelization? In the first stage of Evangelization, the hammer of truth is wielded to shatter the illusion conjured up by the lies of the serpent that a life lived as gods in godlessness is superior to a life lived with God in paradise. Like foolish children, Adam and Eve ran away from their home with God in paradise and took us with them into godlessness. They opted out of paradise after the gift of paradise had been delivered to them. They were duped. They fell for the lie that a superior, alternative to paradise existed. The sugarcoating that the serpent decorated the harsh and sour reality of godlessness induced them to abdicate paradise for godlessness. God and us are a team. We are a communion. We are a partnership. Our relationship is symbiotic and mutually beneficial. Opting out of paradise for godlessness is akin to the heart telling the lung, "I am out of here." Independence, like that, does not work. Godlessness is a place of harm (not sin although harm and sin often overlap. Save sin as a tool of analysis for subsequent layers of Evangelization not the foundation layer). Godlessness is a hostile environment. In godlessness lurk predators who are out to devour us. In godlessness, we are in trouble. We need help. Our God, therefore, arranges for our rescue. To rescue us, the serpent's illusion needs to be shattered. The sledgehammer of truth needs to be wielded against it.  The truth sets us free. Not all truth. Just a particular subset of the truth. The truth about the sourness of godlessness and the truth about the sweetness of paradise are the truths that set us free. These two truths shatter the illusion of the serpent that sugarcoats the harsh and sour reality of godlessness. Freed from the illusion that hid the sour reality of godlessness from us and the sweetness of paradise having been revealed to us, we realize that godlessness is sour and that paradise is sweet. Being sane, we flee the sourness of godlessness and seek the sweetness of paradise. Our sanity, when fed the truth, points us in the right direction. It has nothing to do with sin. It has nothing to do with obedience. If any lesson was taught by the story of Adam and Eve, it is that our faculty of obedience is broken. It malfunctions. Give God some credit. He built his rescue plan around exposing us to the truth and letting our sanity do the work of moving us from godlessness to paradise. This achieves the two goals of God's rescue plan. It gets us to paradise and keeps us in paradise without God having to turn paradise into a prison, God into our warden and us into prisoners. He did not build his rescue plan around our flaky faculty of obedience. God's rescue plan has everything to do with our self interested rationality and how it works when exposed to the truth. When the serpent's illusion is shattered, we make our escape through the hostile desert of godlessness from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his holy family in the promised land. We pick up the roots we have set down in the hostile desert of godlessness. We become pilgrims instead of settlers. God is using the simple strategy of the carrot and the stick and is betting that we are sane. Furthermore, to facilitate our escape, God established an escape route, defined the escape route with holy places, made a map of them, founded a Church and entrusted the Church with the map. In possession of the map of the holy places, the Church knows the way from here to there. How do we get from godlessness to paradise? Consult the map of the holy places that define the escape route. At the holy places, close encounters with the living God take place. During a close encounter with the living God, God transforms us. Nobody walks away from a close encounter with the living God unchanged. Nobody walks away from a close encounter with the living God empty handed. A new exodus is making its escape from godlessness to God. The Church is the new Moses - both the leader and the servant of the escape. The job of the Church is to facilitate the escape not frustrate it - to be grease for the wheels of the escape not an obstacle in its way. The movement of the new exodus forms the needle of the compass that always points to God. Only by making our escape from holy place to holy place that define the escape route can we be sure that we are heading in the right direction. The escape from godlessness to paradise is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect.  The sourness of godlessness, our tasting it for ourselves, the sweetness of paradise, our tasting it for ourselves, the shattering of the serpent's illusion by the sledgehammer of truth, the escape induced when sane people are exposed to the truth, the escape route, the holy places that define it, the map of the holy places, the new exodus, the new Moses are all part of the first stage of Evangelization. They are the Big Picture of Christianity. They have nothing whatsoever to do with either obedience or sin. Obedience and sin are concepts for subsequent stages of evangelization not for the foundation. I am a Christian because the Big Picture of Christianity makes sense - not because of any other aspect of Christianity - solely because the Big Picture makes sense. This brings us to the subsequent stages of conversion and evangelization. Extrapolation from the life of Jesus - from the bible - from the tradition - and from anything else - to official rules and regulations that, in the opinion of the Church, optimize our conduct here on earth are reserved for a secondary stage not the first stage of Evangelization. The Escape in the first stage. Extrapolation in the secondary stage. Why? Extrapolation makes no sense to the children of Adam and Eve who have put roots down into the hostile desert of godlessness. The extrapolation makes sense only to pilgrims who have joined the new exodus and not to settlers. Settlers have no respect for the extrapolations made by the Church.  Even pilgrims sometimes have a hard time with the Church's extrapolations as well. The more that the children of Adam and Eve are invested in the new exodus, the more the Church's elaborate system of official rules and regulation makes sense. The less invested, the less sense it makes. Transformation at the holy places that define the escape route imbue the Church's extrapolations with sense. No close encounters with the living God at the holy places, no transformation. No transformation, no acceptance of the official rules and regulations that attempt to optimize our conduct here on earth (i.e. no obedience). The decline in the Church is directly related to its failure to engage in stage one evangelization. Stage one evangelization is entirely absent from the conversation. The conversation is all about stage two evangelization. The conversation is all about obedience and sin, sin and more sin.  As a result, the Church is in decline. The children of Adam and Eve have no foundation. They do not understand the Big Picture of Christianity. They have forgotten. To reverse the decline of the Church, the Church must devote time, energy and resources to stage one evangelization. More basic training before advanced training. The escape from godless to paradise is the foundation for the extrapolation. Without a foundation, the Church cannot successfully extrapolate to official rules and regulations that, in the Church's opinion, optimize our conduct here on earth. Only a solid foundation makes extrapolation possible. No change in doctrine. Just a change in emphasis. A tweak, nothing more. 

Direction noitceriD - Metanoia

In which direction are your heading? To the left is paradise. In paradise is Jesus who did not stay dead (He is God), who did not stop loving you (Divinity is love) and who did not cancel the invitation he delivered to us to come back to our home with him and his holy family in paradise (Love is generous). In paradise is the living and breathing love note that God delivered to us at Bethlehem.  To the right is godlessness. In godlessness reside the mirages of paradise - the false gods of wealth, power, sex, authority, etc. They embellish the sourness of godlessness making it appear paradise-like. They sugarcoat the sour reality of godlessness. In which direction are you heading? The mind's direction is more important than its progress." Joseph Joubert (Matthew 6:33)

Hierarchy of Value

Our wealth is found at the holy places that define the escape route from godlessness to paradise where we can have close encounters with the living God. Everything else is dross. Wealth, power, health etc. have no value compared to a close encounter with the living God.

Why body and blood? Why not toes and saliva? Why not tongue and phlegm?

We celebrate the bloody wounds we opened in the body of Christ because they represent the failure of the serpent's plan to extinguish God's love for us. The evil we did to Him produced bloody wounds through which his life exited his body. However, it produced nothing more. It was sterile of additional foul effects. Rejoice. He did not stay dead. He did not stop loving us. He did not cancel the invitation to come back to our home with him and his holy family in paradise. That Jesus did not stay dead is the proof that Jesus is God. That Jesus did not stop loving us is the proof of something more amazing. It is the proof that divinity is love. That Jesus did not cancel the invitation to come home is proof that love is generous.

The Gift of God's Love for Us

God has given their love to us. God places no limitations on the gift of their love of us. God attaches no strings to it. No quid pro quo is expected of us. It is not a loan that we must pay back with interest. It is not one side of a bargain for which God expects good and valuable consideration in return. There is no fine print. There are no qualifications, conditions or exceptions. It is a gift. It is a gift from God to us.  A gift is free. We do nothing to earn it. That God's love for us is a gift and not something else is a reflection of the perfect generosity of God.

  • The proper response to a gift is gratitude.
  • A thank you may be appropriate.

It is not about the real presence. It is about the bloody wounds

The real presence is too vague. The body and blood are specific. They indicate the importance of the bloody wounds we opened in the body of Christ. The Mass is the party that the most Holy Trinity throw to celebrate the victory that the Son of God achieved when He stood in the path of our evil and stopped it dead in its tracks. He let it torture and kill him. But He did not let it transform him. He refused to let it penetrate into his heart. Of course, the guest of honor would be really present at the victory party. But it is his bloody wounds that are showcased at Mass. His bloody wounds mark the end of our evil and the beginning of the glory of God. Indeed, we tortured and killed him. But, He did not stay dead. He did not stop loving us.

The Bloody Wounds We opened in the body of Christ are the Rainbow

The bloody wounds we opened in the body of Christ are the rainbow that reminds God and reminds us of the reach of our evil. Our evil produced the bloody wounds but stopped there. Evil ended at the bloody wounds and the glory of God began. Regard them and recall that God refused to permit our evil to go any farther than the bloody wounds in his body.

Morality

Morality is not complicated. You hold in your hands the power to do good and the power to do evil. Maximize the good you do to your neighbor. Minimize the evil. Yet, this picture of consequential morality is incomplete. A critical piece of the puzzle is missing. Do not stop maximizing good and minimizing evil even though your neighbor does evil to you. Foregive. Do not put the power to extinguish your generosity into the hands of your evildoing neighbors. Practice radical generosity. Do not allow them to lessen you. Do not allow them to reduce you to their level. Do not let them define you. Define yourself.

Intrinsic vs. Consequential

43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. (Luke 6:43-44)

I never understood what was meant when the Church added the word, "intrinsic", to the word, "evil". I always thought it was the Church's way of emphasizing how bad an evil was. I was mistaken. It is all about methodology. Consequential morality is illustrated from the excerpt from Luke 6 shown above. The consequences of conduct are used to determine what is good and evil. With intrinsic morality, however, the consequences do not matter. Conduct is declared good or evil according to an arbitrary and capricious whim without resorting to a methodology. Conduct that does not produce any evil consequences is still liable to be labeled evil through the use of the word, 'intrinsic'. 'Intrinsic' morality enables its practitioners to arbitrarily and capriciously expand the scope of evil. With intrinsic morality, evil knows no boundaries.

What are the Holy Places that define the Escape Route from Godlessness to Paradise?

  • At a holy place, a close encounter takes place between the living God and us.
  • At a holy place, we include God in our lives and God includes us in his.
  • At a holy place, we explore the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God,
  • At a holy place, a connection is made between heaven and earth and, through the connection, the light of paradise illuminates the darkness of godlessness.
  • The holy places are jewels in a beautiful necklace that God established in and juxtaposed against the hostile desert of godlessness.
  • At a holy place, good, not evil, is done. In the cesspools of sin that pockmark the hostile desert of godlessness, evil is done not good.
  • Nobody walks away from a close encounter with the living God unchanged. 
  • Nobody walks away from a close encounter with the living God empty handed. 
  • The saints take the holy places with them wherever they go. Their lives are a perpetual communion with God.
  • The father of the prodigal son, having seen you, runs into godlessness to meet you and greet you at the holy places.
  • Examples of the holy places are the Mass, Confession, the other sacraments, works of charity, acts of kindness, prayer especially the rosary, Eucharistic adoration, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, fasting, the gathering of two or more together in God's name, bible study, contemplation of God, the hour of death, etc.

Access

Free and open access to the Catholic holy places that define the escape route from godlessness to paradise is necessary. We cannot transform ourselves. Only God can. The transformations take place at the holy places. Barring sinners from access to the holy places keeps from them the opportunity of transformation.

God has our Back!

When we realize that God has our back, we can afford to maximize the good we do for our neighbors and minimize the evil. We can afford to suffer the evil that our neighbors do to us. When we do not have such faith, we are selfish. We only think of ourselves not our neighbors. Maximizing the good we do our neighbors, minimizing the evil and suffering the evil our neighbors do us is only possible through faith that God has our back. Only faith in the generosity of God allows us to be generous to our neighbors. God will make good our loses. God has our back.

Sin is the Septic System of Christianity

In the bowels of Christianity, the Church manages and operates the septic system of Christianity. In fact, the Church claims a monopoly over the cesspools of sin. When its monopoly is challenged, the Church stops the progress of the new exodus on the escape route, circles the wagons and defends its monopoly against the challenges of the attackers. Sin is but an element of the Big Picture of Christianity. Sin is a bit player not the star of Christianity. Yet, if you listen to the conversation, sin takes center stage. From all of the emphasis that sin gets, it seems that sin is the foundation of Christianity. However, it is not. The escape from godlessness to paradise is the foundation of Christianity. 

Adjusting the Ratio

In the bowels of the Church is the septic system of Christianity. It is operated and manged by, for lack of a better word, Scatologists. Their job is to defend the monopoly that the Church claims it has over sin, the classification of conduct into mortal sin, venial sin and not a sin and the methodology that the Church uses to determine the classification of conduct. The Church is not arbitrary and capricious. It uses a methodology to classify conduct. Conduct that does harm is sinful. Conduct that does not do harm is not. The Scatologists are scholars who study the cesspools of sin. Unfortunately, their association with the cesspools of sin rubs off on them. They take on the stench of their job. Theirs is not an unimportant job. However, sin is not the foundation of the Church. There is a Big Picture of Christianity. Sin is an element of the Big Picture. Sin is a bit player in Christianity not the star. The new Moseses are the stars. They are the leaders of the Church by serving the new exodus. They lead the new exodus in the escape through the hostile desert of godlessness from slavery under the yoke of pharaoh to freedom with God and his holy family in the promised land. They lead by preaching the sweetness of paradise and the sourness of godlessness. The preaching of these truths shatters the illusion conjured up by the serpent that a life lived as gods in godlessness is superior to a life lived with God in paradise. The truth about the sweetness of paradise and the sourness of godlessness sets the children of Adam and Eve free. Freed by the truth, our self-interested rationality takes over and causes us to climb out of the cesspools of sin and join the new exodus as it makes its escape. The sweetness of paradise pulls them out and forward on the escape route. The sourness of godlessness pushes them out and forward on the escape route.Their jurisdiction is the new exodus, the escape, the escape route, the holy places that define the escape route, the map of the escape route, the sweetness of paradise, and the sourness of godlessness.  The Scatologists identify the cesspools of sin. The new Moseses try to convince sinners to get out of them. The escape from godlessness to God is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect. The Scatologists, however, exaggerate the importance of their job. In fact, the Scatologists have pushed everything else out of the conversation but sin. They fill the conversation with sin, sin and more sin. Their obsession with sin has eclipsed the Big Picture of Christianity. The Big Picture of Christianity is the escape from godlessness to paradise not the cesspools of sin. Some part of the conversation needs to be devoted to the Big Picture of Christianity. All of the conversation cannot be devoted to sin. The doctrine of the Church is more than a collection of best practices in septic management. The Church has treasure - real treasure. Therefore, the scatology of sin needs to be demoted a notch in the hierarchy of emphasis. The new exodus from godlessness to paradise needs to be promoted a notch. No change in doctrine. Just a change in emphasis. A tweak, nothing more. Let's get the ratio is correct. In fact, lets call a temporary moratorium on preaching the scatology of sin. For a while, let's talk solely of the sweetness of paradise. Do you have anything to say about the sweetness of paradise?  Or have the fumes from your study of sin driven the sweetness of paradise from your mind? Do you have anything to say about the holy places that define the escape route? 

The Treasure vs. the Drek

There is so much more to Christianity than sin. Sin is the drek of Christianity. The cesspools of sin are part of the septic system of Christianity. The managers and operators of the Church's septic system of sin tend to exaggerate the importance of the septic system of Christianity in the Big Picture of Christianity. They elbow the new Moses who lead and serve the escape out of the conversation. Indeed, the septic system of sin plays a role in the Big Picture of Christianity. However, the role is minor. The septic system is not the star. The cesspools of sin are elements of the Big Picture of Christianity. They are not the Big Picture. The Big Picture of Christianity is seeking God and fleeing godlessness. As we seek God and flee godlessness, we explore the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God at the holy places that define the escape route that God established through the hostile desert of godlessness from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God in the promised land.  In the Big Picture of Christianity, the new Moses who both lead and serve the escape are more important than the managers and operators of the Church's septic system of sin. Instead of filling the conversation with the defense of the Church's cesspools of sin, why not talk about the holy places that define the escape route from godlessness to paradise? Here is but one example. It is an example that is taken from the sweetness of paradise. "Did God suffer and die on a cross for sinners?" "Yes, He did." "Wow! If He was willing to do this for sinners, imagine what He is willing to do for saints?" Why don't you explore the inns and outs of this instead of making us swim with you in your defense of the cesspools of sin? The sweetness of paradise is the honey that draws the bees back home to hive. The cesspools of sin do not have equal attractive power.

Why am I a Christian? Why are you a Christian? Why is anybody a Christian?

I am a Christian because the Big Picture of Christianity makes sense. This is the reason that you are a Christian. This is the reason anybody is a Christian. None of us are Christians because of the way the Church manages and operates the septic system of Christianity. The Church's best practices of septic system management do not inspire the children of Adam and Eve to be Christians. It is the Big Picture of Christianity - and the Big Picture alone - that inspires. Sure, there are a few scatalogical freaks who appreciate - I dare not say enjoy - watching the Church as it manages and operates the cesspools of sin. However, they are eccentrics. Waste management is an uninspiring occupation. It does not move us to make our escape from godlessness to paradise. Sin is merely a tool the Church uses in its attempt to govern us here on earth. Nothing more. Heaven on earth is found at the holy places that define the escape route from godlessness to paradise. These landmarks that define the escape route are not holy because sin is absent. They are holy because God is present. They are holy because close encounters with the living God take place there.

Aphasia

The Church has forgotten the words with which to express the Big Picture of Christianity. It has spent so much time, energy and resources defending its monopoly over the cesspools of sin that the fumes from the cesspools have melted away its understanding of the Big Picture of Christianity. The defense of its monopoly over the cesspools of sin has replaced the Big Picture of Christianity in the conversation. The managers and operators of the septic system of Christianity are in the ascendency. The new Moses' are unceremoniously pushed to the sidelines. The progress of the Church on the escape route from godlessness to paradise has ceased. The septic system operators and managers have circled the wagons to fight the adversaries who are challenging its monopoly over sin. While the wagons are circled, no progress toward paradise and away from godlessness is being made. Stalemate. Dedlock. Defeat. Only when the new exodus resumes, will the new Moses' leave the sidelines to lead / serve the escape. While the wagons are circled in a defensive posture, the managers and operators of the septic system of Christianity are in charge. Woe to the Church when the managers and operators of the septic system of Christianity take charge! Woe to the Church when the new Moses' are put on the sidelines!

Circling the Wagons

The enemies of the Church understand its automatic reaction to attack and exploit it. When attacked, the Church circles the wagons. When the wagons are circled, no progress is made on the escape route. Stalemate. Deadlock. Defeat. The Church must learn to fight the attacks on the run while the wagon trains are moving. 

Listening

It is easy to tell whether the Church has circled the wagons to fight or is fighting on the run. Listen. Just listen. Listen to the conversation. If the conversation is about the Big Picture of Christianity, the Church is fighting on the run while escaping. If the conversation is solely a defense of its monopoly over the cesspools of sin, the Church has circled the wagons.

Monologue vs. Conversation

One of the biggest flaws in the Church is that it sees itself as a monologue not a conversation. Its wisdom rolls down hill from the aristocracy of the Church to the peasantry of the Church. The aristocracy of the Church is afraid of feedback from the peasantry of the Church in much the same way that they fear women. It is time to change the monologue into a conversation. The existence of the Church depends on this evolution.

The Possibility of a Superior Alternative to Paradise

There is no such thing as a superior alternative to paradise. it is a con job - an illusion. Yet, as long as the possibility of a superior alternative to paradise exists as a viable option on the table, God's creatures are tempted to seek it out - to better themselves. The only way to prevent this from happening is to shatter the illusion - to take the possibility of a superior alternative to paradise off the table as a viable option.

The Key of Disobedience, the Lock of Prohibition and the Door between paradise and godlessness

God erected a door between paradise and godlessness, installed the lock of prohibition against using it and gave the key of disobedience to Adam and Eve.  It was a dangerous door. Yet, God erected it despite the danger. The door gave us an option. After the gift of paradise was given to us, we could opt out. Even though it was dangerous, God did not put armed guards around the door. God did not put it behind a barbed wired fence. God did not put it in the middle of a mine field. God did not hide it. Furthermore, God installed the flimsiest of locks on it. It was more of a warning than a lock. It was akin to putting the skull and crossbones symbol on a bottle of poison. The lock was God's prohibition against using the door. The lock was a joke in the sense it was easy to unlock. All that was needed to open the door was the key of disobedience. And God gave Adam and Eve the key of disobedience. Here. Here is the key of disobedience to open the door. Keep it with you in your pocket. Keep it handy.

The Embellishment

The serpent, through lies, conjured up the illusion that a life lived as gods in godlessness is superior to a life lived with God in paradise. 

Adam and Eve were unprepared for their first encounter with a Predator

Adam and Eve were unprepared for their encounter with their first predator and their first lies. Having never experienced a lie, having never encountered a predator, there was nothing in their experience to trigger the evolution of a defense mechanism against them. They were innocent. The serpent took advantage of their innocence. He exploited this vulnerability. Where was the so-called "good shepherd" in their hour of need? Why was the  "good shepherd" AWOL? Was the "good shepherd" absent on a coffee break?   

What exactly was the sin of Adam and Eve?

Duped by the lies of the serpent, Adam and Eve put the key of disobedience into the lock of prohibition, opened the door and passed from paradise to godlessness. What exactly was the sin of Adam and Eve? Was it disobedience? Certainly, we disobeyed. Or was it opting out of paradise after the gift of paradise was delivered to them. Post delivery paradise opt out (PDPOO) was the real sin of Adam and Eve. God does not want the children of Adam and Eve to repeat this original sin. When God delivers to us the gift of paradise, God wants us to keep it. Getting us to keep paradise is the principal goal of God's rescue plan. If just giving us the gift of paradise was the principal goal, God would have just dragged us back to our home with Him in paradise by dint of omnipotence. The fact that God did not tells us that getting us back to paradise is not the principal goal of God's rescue plan. 

Did Adam and Eve commit a mortal sin?

 

Church has established three criteria to define what constitutes a mortal sin. Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent (See, CCC 1857). Let us assume that opting out of paradise after the gift of paradise is delivered to us is grave matter. Did Adam and Eve have full knowledge? Indeed, God warned them not to pass through the door from paradise to godlessness. However, the serpent conjured up the illusion by lies that a life lived as gods in godlessness was superior to a life lived with God in paradise. Adam and Eve had never encountered a predator before the serpent. Thus, a defense mechanism to detect and disarm the serpent's lies had never evolved within them. There had been nothing to trigger its evolution. Adam and Eve were unprepared. They were innocent. It was no contest. Adam and Eve did not stand a chance in the contest between themselves and a fallen angel. The good shepherd was AWOL. They were predestined to fail. Because they were duped, it cannot be said that they opted out of paradise for godlessness with "full knowledge". No, Adam and Eve did not commit a mortal sin.

The Truth about Godlessness

Godlessness sucks. In godlessness, we and our loved ones die, get sick, suffer oppression, injustice, poverty, etc. 

 

The Son of God Paid Us a Visit

He paid us a visit not above us as God but as one of us - on the same level as us - an equal to us in our humanity - a partner with us in our suffering. They say He pitched His tent among us. 

The Mud

The God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands put himself into the hands of the mud.

The Depravity of the Mud

To save the mud, the Son of God became mud despite the depravity of the mud.

Leavening

The Yeast of Divinity entered human history to leaven the mud of Humanity

How to get us involved in the process of seeking God and fleeing godlessness?

There is only one way to do this. The Church needs to shatter the illusion conjured up by the serpent that godlessness is a better place in which to dwell than paradise. To conjure up the illusion, the serpent fed us lies. To shatter the illusion, the Church must feed us the truth. Only a particular segment of the truth, however, shatters the illusion. The truth about the sourness of godlessness and the truth about the sweetness of paradise are the only truths that shatters the serpent's illusion. Only these truths sets the children of Adam and Eve free from the serpent's illusion. Therefore, feed the children of Adam and Eve the truth about the sourness of godlessness and the sweetness of paradise. Our self-interested rationality will do the rest. Our self interested rationality tells us to flee the sourness of godlessness and seek the sweetness of paradise. 

Transporting the Knowledge of God from Heaven to Earth

The knowledge of God, it was decided, would be transported from heaven to earth and into the hands of the children of Adam and Eve. Arising from this decision was the question, ‘what package would be appropriate to hold and carry the knowledge of God during its journey?’. Ordinarily, to hold and carry knowledge, knowledge is put into a book or into some other traditional repository of knowledge. However, not in this case. The knowledge of God was so valuable that no ordinary, conventional, no-frills, humdrum repository would have been suitable. A package equal in dignity to its cargo was desired. Indeed, in this case, a treasure chest was needed because the knowledge of God is the most precious of treasures. Therefore, into an extraordinary treasure chest, the knowledge of God was poured. The treasure chest was unique. It lived and breathed and had its own exalted being. Into Jesus, the knowledge of God was poured. During His Visit to us, He shared the treasure with us. He made us rich. However, Jesus was sent into our world not just to share the treasure with us. Jesus was sent into the world to guarantee the genuineness of the treasure as well. He was not just the word of God, He was also its certificate of authenticity. Furthermore, the certificate of authenticity was given to us in a manner that was both dramatic and apocalyptic. A collision was arranged. At and about Calvary outside the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago, a collision known as the Crucifixion took place between Good and evil. It was bigger than the Big Bang. it was larger than the Large Hadron Collider. What survived the collision? The answer is important because the byproducts of the collision unambiguously reveal the identity of Jesus. The fallout from the collision verified the veracity of the treasure. There were two byproducts of the collision. Jesus did not stay dead. This byproduct proved that Jesus is God. Jesus did not stop loving us. This byproduct proved something more important than the divinity of Jesus. It proved that the nature of divinity is love itself.

What does the Crucifixion tell us?

Did He suffer and die on a cross for sinners? He did. Wow! If He did this for sinners, imagine what He is willing to do for saints! Imagine what God is willing to do for saints!

The Revelation of the Sweetness of Paradise

We tortured and killed the Son of God while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest here on earth. Why? God wanted to reveal to us the sweetness of paradise. The sweetness of paradise is the honey that draws the bees back home to the hive. The sweetness of paradise pulls the children of Adam and Eve to its entrance. It is one of the two engines that generates the current of salvation. The current of salvation flows downhill from godlessness to paradise. 

The Collision between Good and evil at Calvary

At and about Calvary in the vicinity of the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago, a collision known as the Crucifixion took place between Good and evil. It was bigger collision than the Big Bang. It was larger collision than the Large Hadron Collider. The byproducts of the collision revealed the nature of Jesus. What were the byproducts of the collision? There were two: 1) We tortured Him but He did not stop loving us. 2) We killed Him but He did not stay dead. That He did not stay dead is incontrovertible evidence that Jesus was God. That He did not stop loving us is incontrovertible evidence that the essence of divinity is love. Which is more important? If love failed to survive the evil we did to Him, His failure to stay dead would be a threat to humanity not a blessing. That He did not stay dead is secondary to the fact that He did not stop loving us. Yet, the Nicene creed makes no mention that His love for us survived. Please get the Grand Poobahs of the Church to rewrite the Nicene creed in accordance to the importance of the two byproducts of the collision between Good and evil known as Calvary. it ommits the most important fact.

More and Better Theology

God poured more and better theology into the Crucifixion than into the heads of every apologist, theologian, Doctor of the Church, monk, abbot, mystic, priest, monsignor, bishop, Archbishop, Cardinal, Patriarch, Pope, hermit and saint who has ever lived or will ever live.

Inference from the Crucifixion

If we lost the entire Bible - if we lost the entire Church - but we still had this fragment of historical facts known as the Crucifixion, it would be enough. "From a drop of water a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other (Arthur Conan Doyle)." From the Crucifixion, we can infer the true nature of God and come to worship Him.

The Crucifixion is Autodidactic

The Crucifixion is autodidactic. It teaches itself. The Crucifixion is the source of infallible knowledge about Jesus.   Whoever builds his understanding of Jesus upon the Crucifixion has built upon a foundation of solid rock. Their understanding will never be disturbed.  

Checks and Balances

God gave the peasantry of the Church the gift of the Crucifixion to keep then nobility of the Church honest. When the nobility of the Church tries to deviate from the representation of God revealed in the Crucifixion, the peasantry of the Church can point to the Crucifixion and cry foul.

The Self-Portrait

On the canvas of Calvary in the pigments of torture and death, the brush of truth Himself, painted a self-portrait of the nature of God. We killed but He did not stay dead. This is the proof that Jesus is God. We tortured Him but He did not stop loving us. This is proof that Divinity is love. Furthermore, He did not cancel his invitation that he delivered to us at Bethlehem to come back to our home with him and his holy family in paradise. This is proof that love is generous.

The Self Portrait

Many false, inaccurate and conflicting pictures of the nature of God circulate through the minds of the children of Adam and Eve. The multiplicity of pictures creates confusion.  “This is God” some say as they point to their favorite picture of God.  Others point to a different picture and say, “No, this is God.” The controversy goes on ad infinitum. Because of the confusion, the most Holy Trinity desired to set the record straight once and forever. In the Crucifixion, they cleared the air. On the canvas of the Crucifixion in the pigments of torture and death, Jesus painted a self portrait of the nature of God. The self-portrait is a high fidelity representation of God.  Its fidelity exceeds the fidelity of all other representations of God made by human hands.  Hence, the lesser representations must bow their knee to it - they must yield to it.  Because it is a self-portrait, it is reliable.  The Crucifixion is the rock on which you can build an unshakable understanding of God. As a source of knowledge of God, the Crucifixion is infallible. Do not let yourself be deceived by those who tout a different picture of God.  Reject all lesser representations of God as counterfeits. Cling to the self portrait. Let the self portrait become your touchstone. Measure everything against the self portrait. Reconcile everything against the self portrait. What exactly does the self portrait tell us about the nature of God? The self portrait reveals the sweetness of paradise. From the self portrait, we learn that our God is the God who does not stop loving us. We tortured and killed Him while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest here on earth. What worse evil could we have done to him than torture and kill him? This was the sin of sins. Yet, He continued to love us nonetheless. If the love note that God delivered to us at Bethlehem were counterfeit, His love for us would have faded as we tortured him and died when we killed him. But it did not. It survived the evil we did to him. Calvary proved the love note was genuine. Buckets of blood spilled through the wounds we opened in his body but not a drop - not a drop - of His love for us spilled. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us.  His love for us is indestructible. 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. How different is the God of the Crucifixion from us and from other gods! Where do I sign up? How do I enlist? How do I join the kingdom of the God who does not stop loving me?

The Prohibition against Making Images of God in the Ten Commandments

In the Ten Commandments, God prohibited us from making images of Him (Exodus 20:4). Why? Such images would never be as accurate as the image that God themselves would make for us in the Crucifixion. They would be lesser representations of God.

He did the job Himself

We were in trouble. We needed help. He could have dispatched his subordinates to rescue us. He could have sent His flunkies. But He did not. He did the job Himself.

The Door that Stands between Paradise and Godlessness

God built a door between paradise and godlessness. It was a dangerous door. On the right side of this door you wanted to be. Yet, God did not put armed guards around it. God did not put it behind a barbed wire fence. God did not put it in the middle of a mine field. God put only the flimsiest of locks on it. It was more of a warning than a lock. It was like the picture of the skull and crossbones that is put on a bottle of poison. The lock was God's prohibition against using the door. To open it, only the key of disobedience was needed.

 

 

When the wolves are prowling the pasture, it is folly for the sheep to distance themselves from the shepherd.
We are beggars. All of us. Only Christ crucified makes sure our bowls are filled.
 
 


  Visit the Lion's Fang - The Farrell Alumni Networking Group. The Lion's Fang meets every Wednesday's during the Monsignor Farrell H.S. School year (most Wednesdays) after the 7:45 am Mass in the faculty dining room in the breezeway. Hospitality, mutual support and camaraderie are available. On Wednesdays, Farrell welcomes its alumni home. (Click the Image)

Visit the Lion's Fang - The Farrell Alumni Networking Group. The Lion's Fang meets every Wednesday's during the Monsignor Farrell H.S. School year (most Wednesdays) after the 7:45 am Mass in the faculty dining room in the breezeway. Hospitality, mutual support and camaraderie are available. On Wednesdays, Farrell welcomes its alumni home. (Click the Image)

 
  Learn more about the new exodus that is taking place and is now in progress on the escape route through the hostile desert of godlessness from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and their holy family in the promised land.   (Click the Image)

Learn more about the new exodus that is taking place and is now in progress on the escape route through the hostile desert of godlessness from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and their holy family in the promised land. (Click the Image)