The Big Picture of Christianity
The Stages of Conversion
God is not dead. Indeed, God is very much alive. However, the conversation about God is dead. Killing the conversation about God is tantamount to killing God. The enemies of the Church know this. The Church does not. Without a conversation about God, God stays a stranger to us. And nobody follows a stranger. Fewer and fewer go to Mass. None go to confession. Churches wither and die. Therefore, to reverse the trend, it is time for the Church to change its tune. It is a time for a change in emphasis (not a change in doctrine). It is time to adjust the ratio between God and the lesser aspects of Christianity in the conversation. It is time to tweak the topics of holy conversation. Less sin, more God. Morality later, God now. In lieu of its official rules, regulations, rigmarole and red tape, God. Tell us about God. I have a strong suspicion that a more than two thousand years old Church knows a thing or two about God. Is it possible for the Church to devote some portion of the conversation to God? is a minimum of 25% too much to ask?
THE TUG OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is tugging at our souls. The curious are following the tug back to its source. Therefore, let us figure out how to excite the curiosity of the children of Adam and Eve. Exposure to the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God tends to excite our curiosity. The Church is at its best when it serves as the tour guide who takes the children of Adam and Eve on expeditions to the holy places that define the escape route from godlessness to paradise where we can explore the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God. The Church is at its worst when it plays the role of the monster who tries to ram doctrine down our throats against our wills by dint of omnipotence. In medieval times, before we could read, write and think for ourselves, we would smile and swallow it. Now, in modern times, when we can read, write and think for ourselves, the heavy-handed attempts trigger our gag reflex. We regurgitate it. Our faculty of obedience is broken and cannot be fixed. Our parents, Adam and Eve, showed us this. Now, the appeal is to our rationality. We must be persuaded. We must be persuaded to pull up the roots we have sunk deep into the hostile desert of godlessness and become pilgrims instead of settlers. To persuade us, it is necessary to shatter the illusions that hide the natural inclination of reality. The sledgehammer of truth shatters the illusions as the blow of a hammer shatters glass. When the illusions are shattered, our rationality does the rest. Our rationality instructs us to flee the sourness of godlessness and seek the sweetness of paradise. To do otherwise is contrary to our self-interest.
The Lack of a Plan; The Absence of a Framework
Often, it seems that someone took the pieces of Christianity, jumbled them up, tossed them in the air and let them fall where they may. So many odd and strange combinations are made this way.
The premise of the Big Picture of Christianity is that rational people seek the sweetness of paradise and flee the sourness of godlessness. It is in their self-interest to do so. To do otherwise is irrational. This is the reason it was said that "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32). Furthermore, our faculty of obedience is broken. It is unreliable. If Adam and Eve taught us any lesson, Adam and Eve taught us this. Therefore, God designed his rescue plan around our faculty of rationality not our faculty of obedience. God bypassed our faculty of obedience due to its unreliability. To rescue us, God is appealing to our faculty of rationality. God is not trying to fix our faculty of obedience. We make our escape in the new exodus on the escape route from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh through the hostile desert of godlessness to freedom with God and his holy family in the promised land when are eyes are opened and we behold the sweetness of paradise and the sourness of godlessness. The starting point, therefore, is to open our eyes by shattering the illusions that hide the natural inclination of reality with the the sledgehammer of truth as the blow of a hammer shatters glass.
The Offer of Citizenship
You are being offered citizenship in a kingdom ruled by the God who loves you. Is anyone making you a better offer? To accept is easy. Simply join the new exodus making its escape through the hostile desert of godlessness on the escape route from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his holy family in the promised land. Pick up the roots you have sunk deep into the hostile desert of godlessness and be on your way. Become a pilgrim instead of a settler. Even the last on line gets saved (Matthew 20:1-16)
The Crutch of Sin
If you cannot talk about Christianity without recourse to sin, you do not understand it.
The Church of a Million Sins
Our Church has the reputation of being the Church of a million sins. Everything is a sin. Look to the left. Sin. Look to the right. Sin. Look straight ahead. Sin. Look behind. Sin. The Church sees itself as just another layer of government that attempts to rule us with the cudgel of sin as we make our way through life here on earth. Oh! How small minded is our Church! It has a mission but its mission is not to govern us. Its mission gets done in stages. First, the Church was put on earth to shatter the illusions conjured up by the serpent that hide the sweetness of paradise and the sourness of godlessness from us. The Church takes the sledgehammer of truth in hand to shatter the illusions as the blow of a hammer shatters glass so the truth can set us free. After the illusions are shattered and our eyes are opened to the sweetness of paradise and the sourness of godlessness, we begin to wonder how do we get there from here - from godlessness to paradise. Then the next stage of the Church's mission kicks in. Then is the time for the Church to proclaim that it knows the way. God built an escape route from godlessness to paradise, defined the escape route with holy places, made a map of them, established a Church, entrusted the map to the Church and gave the Church the mission of facilitating the escape - not frustrating it, not filtering it and not fouling it up. The Church has the map and knows the way. Only thereafter when the truth has set us free and we have transformed ourselves from settler to pilgrim do we put bit into our mouths, the bridle onto our heads and take the reins of morality into our hands. Only after we become engaged in the escape do we attempt to govern ourselves.
SINGING THE WRONG SONG INCESSANTLY
The hierarchy of the Church loves to sing the song of sin. It is their favorite song. They play it over and over and over again. They sing, dance, and tap their feet to its beat. Its incessant drone, however, has driven the children of Adam and Eve away. Now the song of sin echoes through the naves of empty Churches. The children of Adam and Eve love to hear songs about God. Surely, a more than two thousand year old Church knows a song or two about God? Surely the Church can sing a different tune? If the Church is not singing the song of God, it is a waste of time to listen. Go find a singer who is singing the song of God.
Let us Refocus the Church on the Contents of the Treasure Chest
The Church has lost its ability to distinguish the contents of the treasure chest from the contents of the trash bin. Indeed, Christianity is a beautiful jewel of many aspects. However, not all aspects of Christianity are equal. Some aspects of Christianity are more important. Some aspects of Christianity, not so much. Therefore, show us the treasure. Keep the trash in its bin. When Christians hold up the trash and present it to the children of Adam and Eve as treasure, do not let them get away with the fraud. Point out their deception. Let them know that they are clueless.
How will the Church ever bring our children back to the practice of our religion if the flag that is run up the flagpole of the Church is not taken from the treasure chest of the Christianity but from the trash bin of Christianity? How do we persuade the Church to open the treasure chest of Christianity, take out its contents and show them to our children?
Put the "A" Team on the Field
Do we want to win or do we want to lose? If we want to lose, continue playing the "B", "C" and "D" teams. If we want to win, put the "A" team on the field. What is the "A" team? Figure it out for yourself. God is a stranger to us. We do not know him. And nobody follows a stranger. When God is a stranger to us, fewer and fewer go to Mass. Nobody goes to Confession. Churches wither and dye. The "A" team is the Church's Knowledge of God. The first step to becoming a winner is to make God familiar to the children of Adam and Eve again. The "A" team is not the official rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole of the Church. The "A" team is not sin. The "A" team is the knowledge of God, that is, the treasure that Jesus Christ transported from heaven to earth when he paid us a visit at and about the City of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago.
HE IS THE LIVE BAIT
The Son of God let us impale him on the sharp hook of salvation while he was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth so the Church could cast him as bait into the cesspools of sin to fish for the children of Adam and Eve. The Church is a fisher of men (and women) (Matthew 4:19). Therefore, to be effective, the Church must be always mindful of the bait it puts on the hook. It must constantly ask itself, "Am I fishing with the right bait?". Too often, the Church baits the hook with blocks of wood. If you do not care about catching fish, bait the hook with whatever tickles your fancy. However, if you want to catch fish, it behooves you to bait the hook with the sweetness of paradise. Only the sweetness of paradise catches fish.
Sin is the preferred bait of the Church
The Church baits the hook with sin and wonders why it doesn't catch any fish.
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 bosses of the Catholic Church, many heads would roll. Shall we wait until the number for Mass attendance falls into the single digits before the bosses of the Catholic Church are fired for incompetency? There are other scandals in the Church but none worse - none - than the failure of the new Moses to serve / lead the children of Adam and Eve in the new Exodus on the escape route from godlessness to paradise.
The First Stage: A Life with God in Paradise
A FAIRY TALE?
The story of Adam and Eve is viewed by many as a child’s fairy tale with little or no relevance to us today. Its lesson is judged too simple and, hence, too well-understood, to deserve any further serious contemplation. It is taken for granted. Few sermons are preached about it. Yet, the story of Adam and Eve informs us about the origin of our predicament in godlessness and sets the stage for our rescue therefrom. It explains the dynamic that drives us through our existence. It gives us the context into which we fit. In other words, it is ripe with existential wisdom.
The Gift Giver
God is the gift giver. He gave Adam and Eve the gift of life, the gift of a home in paradise in which to enjoy it and the gift of a spouse with whom to share it. God also gave them the gift of his love. The gift of his love is God's most important gift to us. All of the other gifts arise from it. Moreover, love has a face by which we can identify it. The face of love is generosity. God's generosity to us is perfect. His philanthropy is unblemished.
The Second Stage: A Life as gods in godlessness
God erected a door between paradise and godlessness, locked it with His prohibition against using it, and gave Adam and Eve the key of disobedience. The world on the other side of the door was a mystery to Adam and Eve. Their experience was in paradise not godlessness. The world on the other side of the door was foreign to them. They were strangers to it. The source of their knowledge about it was only hearsay. God had told them that death lay on the other side of the door (Genesis 2:17). The serpent, however, contradicted God (Genesis 3:4). There was a conflict in the testimony about godlessness (Genesis 2:17) (Genesis 3:4). Someone (hint: God) desired that this conflict be resolved. The mystery of the other side of the door piqued the curiosity of Adam and Eve. Who was telling the truth: God or the serpent? The non-hearsay evidence corroborated the testimony of the serpent (Genesis 3:6). Eve decided to discover the truth for herself (Genesis 3:6). Adam concurred with Eve's decision (Genesis 3:6). That day, we became known as creatures who prefer to discover the truth for ourselves despite the cost. Adam and Eve's God given gift of curiosity kicked in so they put the key in the lock, opened the door, and passed through it.
Questions That Arise From the Catastrophe of Adam and Eve
Why did God let the catastrophe happen? Adam and Eve had never encountered a predator so they had not yet developed a defense mechanism against one. They were defenseless. The good shepherd whose job was to defend the sheep from the wolves was AWOL. Newly minted humanity versus a fallen angel - no contest. Why did God not post armed guards at the door? Why was the good shepherd AWOL during the crisis? Why erect a door from paradise to godlessness in the first place? Why such a flimsy lock? Why did God give them the key? All of the evidence points to the fact that Adam and Eve were doomed to fail. All of the evidence points to the fact that God wanted Adam and Eve to discover the truth about godlessness for themselves.
RESOLVING THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE TESTIMONY OF GOD AND THE TESTIMONY OF THE SERPENT
What say the jury? There is a conflict in the testimony (Genesis 2:17) (Genesis 3:4). God and the serpent are on trial. Its the word of God versus the word of the serpent (Genesis 2:17) (Genesis 3:4). Who is telling us the truth and who is telling us the lie? What is the tiebreaker? How is the conflict between the testimony of God (Genesis 2:17) and the testimony of the serpent (Genesis 3:4) resolved? There is only one way to resolve the conflict. There is only one way out. There is only one way to break the tie. A taste of the sourness of godlessness - only a taste - will resolve the conflict in the testimony. It will, as the serpent testified (Genesis 3:5), open our eyes and show us who is good and who is evil (Genesis 3:5). A taste of the truth tells us that godlessness is not the paradise that the serpent portrays it to be.
OBEDIENCE WOULD NOT HAVE RESOLVED THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE TESTIMONY (GENESIS 2:17) (GENESIS 3:4).
Obedience would not have resolved the conflict between the testimony (Genesis 2:17) (Genesis 3:4). Obedience is a shortcut. It is a time saver. It is borrowing from someone else's experience. However, obedience would not have given us a way of deciding who was telling the truth: God or the serpent. Only experiencing godlessness for ourselves enabled us to discern who was telling the truth. This is why God did not fix our faculty of obedience. He let it stay broken. Instead, God let us taste the truth for ourselves. We are creatures who benefit by experiencing the truth for ourselves. At least, God thinks so. The taste of godlessness proves to us that the serpent is a liar and that his promises of deification in godlessness is a lie. The taste shatters the illusion conjured up by the serpent that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness. It is the harsh but effective medicine that stops us from repeating the original sin of our parents, Adam and Eve. The prodigal son isn't going back to the pig sty and neither are we.
The Serpent's Promise of Deification in godlessness WAs a Lie
The serpent promised Adam and Eve that a life lived as god in godlessness would be superior to a life lived with God in paradise. The promise induced Adam and Eve to run away, like foolish children, from their home with God in paradise and take us with them into godlessness. Godlessness, however, sucks, and the promise of deification was a lie. The serpent mimics the promise of God but cannot deliver. The serpent is a liar. (Genesis 3:5).
The Two (2) Illusions Conjured Up By The Serpent
The serpent conjured up two illusions. One illusion camouflages the sweetness of paradise and the other illusion sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness. The two illusions hide the natural inclination of reality from us. Our rationality, fed illusions, steers us in the wrong direction.
On the Table, a superior alternative to a life with God in Paradise
The serpent induced Adam and Eve to opt out of paradise by putting on the table the option of a superior alternative to a life with God in paradise. It was a lie. Yet, they fell for the lie. They opted out of paradise after the gift of paradise had already been delivered to them.
Our Faculty of Obedience is Broken
If Adam and Eve taught us any lessons, the lesson they taught us is that our faculty of obedience is broken. We prefer to discover the truth for ourselves rather than obey the lock of prohibition affixed on the door by God. We prefer the hard way to the easy way. We prefer discovering the truth for ourselves rather than borrowing the experience of others.
Free Will and Obedience are in Conflict
Free Will and Obedience are in conflict. They war with each other. When obedience dominates, free will suffers. When free will dominates, obedience suffers. Obedience is the sacrifice of free will. Obedience strips freedom from the will. A will in the thrall of obedience is not free.
The Third Stage: Shattering the Illusions / Exposing the Natural Inclination of Reality
GoD Dove into godlessness After us To Rescue us
After we opted out of paradise, God could have said to us, "Goodbye and Good Riddance" as he closed and barred the door after us. However, God did not. God dove in after us to rescue us. We needed help. So God dove into godlessness after us to rescue us. Thanks be to God. None shall perish because our rescuer is the God who loves us. God does not fail. God does not come up short. God does not miss the mark. The only people not rescued are the fools who refuse to be rescued - those who tell God to bugger off.
The Goal of God's Rescue Plan
God plans to deliver the gift of paradise to us just as God delivered the gift of paradise to Adam and Eve. God will not be less generous with us than God was with them. Adam and Eve were the first beneficiaries of God’s love for us. They were not the last. God’s philanthropy did not end with Adam and Eve; God’s philanthropy began with them. This is good news of great joy - very good news for us indeed. Moreover, after the gift of paradise is delivered to us, God is eager for us to keep it. He does not want us to repeat the original sin of our parents. He does not want us to opt out of paradise after the gift of paradise is delivered to us as Adam did, as Eve did, as Lucifer did and as a gaggle of angels who followed Lucifer did. God, therefore, has taken steps to reduce the likelihood to near zero that we would opt out of paradise after the gift of paradise is delivered to us.
Shattering the Illusions
Therefore, the first step is to shatter the illusions with the sledgehammer of truth as the blow of a hammer shatters glass. The truth sets us free. The first step is to show us that the serpent was a liar, he closed our eyes to the natural inclination of reality instead of opening them, and his promise of deification (Genesis 3:5) that induced Adam and Eve to opt out of paradise and take us with them into godlessness was a lie. When the illusions are shattered, the natural inclination of reality becomes visible. We see the sweetness of paradise and the sourness of godlessness. Our rationality does the rest. Our rationality steers us in the right direction.
The Delay Shatters The Illusion that Sugarcoats the Sourness of Godlessness
The delay that God inserted between the delivery of the gift of life and the gift of paradise shatters the illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness. God delivered the gift of life and the gift of paradise simultaneously to Adam and Eve. God tweaked the schedule of delivery for the children of Adam and Eve. God inserted a delay. During the delay we get to taste the sourness of godlessness for ourselves.
Harsh but Effective Medicine
The delay is harsh but effective medicine. Its effectiveness in reducing the likelihood of post delivery paradise opt out to near zero justifies its harshness in the eyes of God. The medicine works. For the critics of "the delay", however, the cure of godlessness is as bad as the disease of godlessness. In answer to this criticism, God made life short. 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 Engine that drives us to the Exit of Godlessness
The sourness of godlessness is the engine that drives us to the exit of godlessness. Before the revelation of the sweetness of paradise, the sourness of godlessness was the only engine that was pushing the children of Adam and Eve along the escape route from godlessness to paradise.
The Prodigal Son
The prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty and neither are we. Our experience in godlessness teaches us that godlessness sucks.
Revelation SHATTERS THE ILLUSION THAT camouflages THE Sweetness OF paradise
Paradise is foreign to us. We are strangers to paradise. The memory of life in Eden has faded. Our experience is in godlessness not paradise. Therefore, the only way for us to know the sweetness of paradise is through revelation. Therefore, the Son of God paid us a visit at and about the City of Jerusalem in a region of our planet known as the Middle East more than two thousand years ago. During his visit, he showed us the sweetness of paradise.
The Message Consists of Three Parts
The message that the Son of God transmitted to the children of Adam and Eve during the visit he paid them does not consist of one part. It consists of three parts. The message is indecipherable without all of its parts. The three parts of the message have names. The first part is called the prefix. The second part is called the suffix. The third part is the connection between the prefix and the suffix. Each part conveys meaning. The connection makes the prefix the test and the suffix the result. Here is the test. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Here are the results. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. We baptized him in a boiling cauldron of suffering. Emerging from our evil baptism of him were life and love. That he did not stay dead put proof into our hands that Jesus is God. That he did not stop loving us put proof into our hands that divinity is love.
Why is it Important to Reveal the Sweetness of Paradise?
The God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands put himself into the hands of the mud to reveal to the mud the sweetness of paradise. What makes paradise sweet? Jesus is the God who loves us. Despite the evil baptism into which we immersed him, he emerged alive and with his heart still filled to the brim with love for us. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died, Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He is the sweetness of paradise. Why is it important to reveal the sweetness of paradise? Rational people seek the sweetness of paradise.
The Yeast for the Mud
The yeast of divinity came to leaven the mud of humanity. How? By revealing to the mud the ingredient that makes paradise sweet.
The Engine that Pulls us to the Entrance of Paradise
The sweetness of paradise is the engine that pulls us to the entrance of paradise. It started to function with the revelation given to us during the visit of the Son of God.
The Ironclad Guarantee
The God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands put himself into the hands of the mud to give the mud an ironclad guarantee that God' s love for the mud is genuine. If God's love for us were counterfeit, it would have faded as we tortured him and died when we killed him. But it did not. God's love for us survived the evil baptism into which we immersed him. It emerged intact and undiminished.
How God revealed to us the Sweetness of Paradise
How do we convince them that we love them? We let them torture and kill us, rise from the dead and continue to love them nonetheless. If this does not convince them that their God loves them, nothing will.
Jesus Brought Us the Proof of God's love for Us
Jesus did not pay us a visit just to prove to us that he is God. Jesus paid us a visit to prove that He loved us. Therefore, to give us the proof, Jesus let us torture and kill him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. That he did not stay dead is the proof that Jesus is God. That he did not stop loving us is the proof that divinity is love.
Why did Jesus take Flesh?
He paid us a visit not on a level above us as befits a god. He paid us a visit on the same level as us as one of us - an equal to us in humanity - a partner with us in our suffering. He paid us a visit to communicate a message to us not in his language but in our language - not in the language of the angels but in the language of the mud. He wanted to communicate with us in our native tongue so there would not be any misunderstanding. Therefore, he took flesh. As one of us and only as one of us, he could communicate with us in the language of pain and suffering. The language of pain and suffering is our mother tongue. We all understand it regardless of the language we speak. He wanted to show us 1) that he was God and 2) that God loves us. Therefore, he let us torture and kill him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. That he did not stay dead is the proof that he is God. That he did not stop loving us is the proof that Divinity is love.
The Self-Portrait of the Nature of God
On the canvas of Calvary in the pigments of pain and suffering, the Son of God painted a self-portrait of the nature of God. Because it is a self-portrait, it is a high fidelity representation of the nature of God. All other representations of the nature of God must bend their knee to it. They must yield to it.
The Fourth Stage: Disorientation
After the illusions are shattered and the natural inclination of reality becomes visible, the children of Adam and Eve enter a state of disorientation. They become unsettled. They struggle to get their bearings. They are no longer comfortable in the hostile desert of godlessness. They desire the life of a pilgrim instead of the life of a settler. They pull up the roots they have sunk down deep into hostile desert of godlessness. The desire arises in them to get from here to here - from godlessness to paradise. They will try to figure out how to get there from here. They will ask themselves, 'Who knows the way?'.
Our Faculty of Rationality
Our faculty of rationality steers us in the right direction when the illusions are shattered and the natural inclination of reality becomes visible. Rational people flee the sourness of godlessness and seek the sweetness of paradise. It is insane to do otherwise.
The Fifth Stage: How to get There from Here
The Church Knows the way
When the children of Adam and Eve are freed from the illusions and they perceive the natural inclination of reality, they will raise the questions, "How do we get from here to there?" "Who knows the way?" Then it is time to answer them. Tell them the Church knows the way. Joe across the street does not know the way. God entrusted the map of the escape route to the Church. The Church knows the way. There is no need for them to start their escape from scratch. There is no need for them to blaze their own escape route through the hostile desert of godlessness - an attempt that runs the risk of failure - an attempt with no guarantee of success. An escape route has already been prepared and is waiting for them. They are welcome to make their escape on it. The Church offers them the hospitality of the escape route.
The Escape Route
God built the escape route, defined the escape route with holy places, made a map of them, established a Church and entrusted the map to the Church. The job of the Church is to facilitate the escape - not to frustrate it, not to filter it and not to foul it up. The job of the Church is to be grease for the wheels of the escape not an obstacle in its way.
The Holy Places that Define the Escape Route
God defined the escape route from godlessness to paradise with holy places. The holy places are the jewels of a beautiful necklace that God established in and juxtaposed against the hostile desert of godlessness. At the holy places, close encounters with the living God take place. Having a close encounter with the living God is hitting the jackpot. During a close encounter with the living God, we include God in our lives and God includes us in his. 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. During a close encounter with the living God, God transforms us. During a close encounter with the living God, a connection is made between earth and heaven. Through the connection, the light of paradise illuminates the darkness of godlessness. At the holy places, we explore the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God. The holy places are a combination of the sacraments and the beatitudes. Examples of the holy places upon the earth at which close encounters with the living God take place 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.
The Primacy of the Escape
The escape from godlessness to paradise is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect.
The Church is The Escape
To what do we compare the Church? The Church is the escape. The Church is the new exodus making its escape through the hostile desert of godlessness on the escape route from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his holy family in the promised land.
When the Music ends, You want to be found making your Escape on the Escape Route
When the music ends, the place you want to be found is among the pilgrims making their escape from the sourness of godlessness to the sweetness of paradise. You do not want to be found as a settler with roots sunk deep in the hostile desert of godlessness. Make no mistake about it. The music will end. However, in life's game of musical chairs, there is a chair for everyone who wants it.
He is the Conductor put in place so the Current of Salvation can flow
The sourness of godlessness drives the children of Adam and Eve to its exit. The sweetness of paradise pulls them to its entrance. There is a potential difference between the sourness of godlessness and the sweetness of paradise. However, without a conductor, the current of salvation does not flow. Therefore, Jesus became the conductor. He is the way (John 14:6). He is the escape route. He is the bridge between the world of godlessness and the world of paradise. He is the conductor that carries the the current of salvation through the potential difference between the sourness of godlessness and the sweetness of paradise. The escape is made from godlessness to paradise through his bloody wounds. We opened bloody wounds in his body when we opted out of paradise. We heal the bloody wounds, when we opt back in.
Wait until the illusions are shattered and the natural inclination of reality becomes Visible, Before Preaching the Escape.
Before preaching to the children of Adam and Eve the escape, wait until the illusions are shattered and the natural inclination of reality is visible. Preaching the escape before the illusions are shattered, is akin to giving what is holy to dogs or throwing pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6). Don't waste your time. Put your time, energy and resources into shattering the illusions and making visible the natural inclination of reality.
The Sixth Stage: Morality
Getting Them to Take the reins of Morality into their Hands
In the Big Picture of Christianity, morality comes last. Only after the settlers have become pilgrims, will they put the bit into their mouth, the bridle onto their heads and take the reins of morality into their hands.
THE OBJECT OF MORALITY
The object of morality is self-government.
Sin is a tool of Morality
Sin is a tool of morality. Morality is its niche. Untold damage is done when sin is allowed to escape its niche.
Morality is abusive when it is used to subjugate our Neighbors
Morality is abusive when it is used as chains to subjugate our neighbors. Morality is not a tool of domination wielded by the ruling class to subjugate the children of Adam and Eve. Morality is the key that frees them from subjugation. Morality, therefore, must be delivered only by persuasion and never by authority. Authority and morality are incompatible. Morality, imposed by external force, is not self-government. It is a type of tyranny. Our free will rebels against this type of tyranny.
The Escape is more Important than Morality
The escape is more important than morality. The escape is the cause and morality is the effect. Many in the Church confuse cause and effect to the detriment of the escape. When the escape is in progress, everything else takes care of it self.
THE FRICTION OF THE ESCAPE
Only the friction of the escape causes us to shed the skin of sin like a snake. Therefore, to achieve morality, promote the escape not morality.
Morality is the Effect not the Cause
Morality is the effect of the escape. Scientists have long understood that, to manipulate an effect, it is necessary to tinker with the cause. It is impossible to manipulate an effect directly.
Key or Cage?
To the settlers, morality is a cage that imprisons them. To the pilgrims, morality is the key that frees them from bondage.
Giving what is Holy to Dogs
Trying to teach morality to settlers is akin to giving what is holy to dogs or throwing pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6). Don't waste your time. Put your time, energy and resources into transforming settlers into pilgrims.
Morality does not exist for others to govern us. Morality exists so we can govern ourselves.
The Last Stage: A Life with God in Paradise
The Likelihood of Post Delivery Paradise Opt Out is Reduced to Near Zero
Having tasted the pig sty, nothing will persuade the prodigal son to return there. The prodigal son will stay in his father's house forever (Luke 15:11-32). Neither will way. When God delivers the gift of paradise to us - and its delivery is ineluctable - we will not opt out. We will keep it. Thanks be to God.