Permission Not Needed

Maybe I need a t-shirt that says, “This is what TOXIC MASCULINITY looks like.”

I’ve gotten significant push-back from people who don’t understand the difference between just and unjust killing. I’m convinced it’s a prejudice from our Western heritage. You see, in the ancient mists of Western feudalism, the nobles and kings owned all land, and it includes the people on the land. They are just part of the turf, a resource like trees or wild animals that grow on the land. The nobles and kings were sacred and untouchable to the rabble.

This translates into some poorly understood image of the modern secular government as king, so that officials serving in the machinery of government must be revered, as if they were holy. They, of course, can kill whomever they wish, but you and I are not permitted to even think about it. We can’t question their inherent right to kill and we dare not think about doing any killing ourselves. That’s their prerogative alone. And then everyone reads this weird ethic back into the Bible, as if that’s how God sees things.

That’s a blasphemous lie. It’s an insult to God.

If you take the context of Scripture as a whole, the issue is not whether you dare to kill another human. Everything is under the Covenant — remember? All of Creation, the entire universe, is under the Covenant. The Covenant decides who gets killed and why. The Covenant also decides what is just in killing anything that lives, including trees, grass, birds, etc. All of those natural resources are there for our use, but it’s for the purpose of His glory. That glory is defined by the Covenant.

So what are you going to do with the Covenant warning that you must kill certain people who are a serious threat to shalom? Who decides they die? The Covenant decides, and people are obliged to obey the Covenant. Granted, the sword is placed first in the hands of your chief elder, but it doesn’t always wait for him to get around to it. Jael didn’t wait for the troops to show up when she nailed Sisera to the ground with a tent peg (see Judges 4).

And while a man should have taken the lead, said Judge Deborah, Jael did what had to be done in the moment. Nothing in the Word prevents a woman obeying the Covenant and killing someone whom God says must die. Yes, it was “an act of war,” but the distinction we see from our Western heritage isn’t there in the Bible. Jael wasn’t at war with anyone. She simply did what was justified under the Covenant.

So the issue for us today does require some contextual translation, but the core issue remains a matter of seeking divine justice. We have no covenant nations around, but if you embrace Biblical Law (the conduct and teaching of Jesus) then it includes taking human life under certain circumstances. It doesn’t matter what the secular state calls it. The only question is whether the Lord moves in your heart to do this, and you trust Him to handle the consequences as He sees fit.

And on a lesser level of violence, I can tell you today that my conscience burns me over not at least punching out the lights of a few individuals whom I let slide past divine justice. It also convicts me of roughing up a few guys who didn’t deserve it. And there are a fair few blows I should have endured for my own stupidity. It’s all the same conviction; I’m trying to discern more clearly the pattern of justice the Lord laid out for me when I was spiritually born.

So when I suggest there are certain people out there today that, if I could, I would shoot them dead, I’m saying that from my heart of conviction. You don’t have to agree with it, especially if you are busy trying to hear your own convictions, but you also have no business trying to tell me I’m wrong. When it comes to something like that, I just don’t give a rat’s butt what you think about it. You shouldn’t be worried about what I think about your divine calling, either. I write about it in hopes you’ll understand with your mind how divine justice works and make room for your convictions to rule in your life. I’m determined to do the same for myself.

That doesn’t mean I’m looking to arm up and go on a sniper rampage. It means that I am prepared, should the circumstances present themselves, to take that action without fear or doubt. Right now, it appears to be quite unlikely, but I stand ready should the Lord call. Everyone should hold that same readiness in their hearts for whatever hard missions the Lord may have for us.

There are some folks out there who have so deeply offended God’s Law that they deserve to die. The timing and means are in His hand, and He does appoint His servants, as well as some fools who don’t acknowledge Him, to carry out His will. Sometimes those fools kill a lot of innocent folks, too, but that doesn’t mean we how are heart-led can’t come to the conclusion that divine justice means some humans deserves to die. God doesn’t need anyone’s permission to move in the hearts of humans as He sees fit.

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Only 41 Years?

Where did the time go? This is my blushing bride from June 1978. We were moving into our first apartment after the wedding.

Babe, I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.

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Scanned Photos 14

This is the oldest family photo I could find, from Christmas 1959. It’s my dad and mom, me and my sister. In my memories, this would be somewhere around Farmington, NM and I was about 3 years old. The dog was name “Moe,” and was a short time later run over out on the highway.

The first new home my parents actually bought was in Anchorage, AK. After checking the maps extensively, this is apparently no longer there. This picture was taken right after we moved into the place. Yeah, we moved a lot in childhood until we got to Anchorage. This was the first place I can remember staying three years.

This was the last bike I bought in Europe, and the last iteration of my attempts to make it easier to carry enough water. That’s six 2-liter bottles standing in a rack made from plastic conduit, mounted on a regular bike rack. This was taken in Viborg, DK on a very hot summer day in 1992.

I also took a few solitary bike trips just to explore some of the more beautiful areas I saw while volksmarching. That’s the same bike in both photos. This was a bike trip from Comblain-au-Pont in the late fall of 1991. I can recall riding up a steep winding road to reach this cliff above the town, then riding around on the ridge and taking a trail down that ran me through the stream bed a few times. That was exciting.

On one of my last trips to the Dinant area of Belgium, I took this shot in February 1992. I thought it came out well with the low fog not quite obscuring the stone cliffs above the buildings.

While I haven’t shown you all of the photos I scanned, the scanning is pretty much done. Now I’ve migrated that computer over to Xubuntu Linux 19.04. I was waiting until I had gone through our huge stack of photos because scanning is a little simpler under Windows. I tolerated the way Windows does so very much without giving you a clue what’s going on in the background, and waited to be sure the Linux drivers were ready for this recent hardware. Windows gives me the willies, though I still have to know how to make it work for my tech support ministry clients.

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Teachings of Jesus — John 10:22-39

The Feast of Dedication is early December on our calendar. Everyone in Jerusalem was wearing their winter garb. As Jesus walked in Solomon’s Portico, a bunch of scribes and Pharisees surrounded Jesus and demanded He state plainly whether He was the Messiah.

Jesus said it didn’t matter what He said, because they refused to believe Him. Then He pointed out the one thing they refused to consider: His miracles were clearly consistent with the Covenant. They were commissioned by the Father. These men were incapable of believing those miracles because their hearts were closed; they were not committed to God’s Word but to something else. They couldn’t receive the obvious truth because they didn’t belong to God or to the Messiah.

But the sheep His Father gave Him would always recognize His voice as the voice of God. They belonged to Eternity and no one could take that away from them. More to the point, they belonged to Jesus as the Messiah, a gift from His Father, and no one had authority or power to take them from the Father’s hands.

Then Jesus said flatly that He and the Father were One. Someone listening would have to wonder just what those Jews would have accepted as evidence of that claim. Since Jesus was not one of them, He couldn’t be from the God they knew, but Jesus’ whole point was that they didn’t know Jehovah in the first place. At any rate, they took up stones in preparation for striking Him.

He asked them for which miraculous work were they going to stone Him. They said it was not about the miracles, but what they considered His blasphemy. Specifically, He made Himself out to be God. So using their own rules of logic, He quoted Psalm 82:6 where David quotes God saying that He had made the nation of Israel like gods among the rest of the nations of the earth. He did this by giving them His own Word, but so many had rejected it. It was a psalm of pleading for justice against those who rejected the revelation of God, the same problem Jesus noted with the Pharisees and scribes.

The Scripture cannot be broken, but if the nation breaks away from it, they lose the blessings of the Covenant. How painfully obvious it was they rejected the One whom God sent to them as the Living Word because they didn’t recognize the truth in the first place. Claiming to be a Child of God was the birthright of anyone born under the Covenant in the first place, so why was it a crime for Jesus to claim that honor? If His miracles led people away from the Scriptures, then they rightly rejected Him. But if His miracles were clearly in accordance with the Covenant, then never mind His words. They should believe in the blessings of the Covenant, and thus recognize that the Father was in Him, and He in the Father.

They tried again to seize Him, but it was not His time yet.

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Scanned Photos 13

Amersfoort in the Netherlands is a really ancient city. It has a canal running right through the old city center. Up on the northwest side of the old city, they managed to preserve this gate, partly from the Middle Ages, if I understand correctly. Yes, the weather is overcast and gray like this most of the year in the Benelux.

Outside of the big city of Heerlen, on the southwest side stands the tiny village of Imstenrade. These days it consists mostly of the old manor, referred to as “the Villa” around there. I seem to recall it has rooms to rent and a really fancy restaurant.

Any hiking around Malmedy, Belgium is lovely. The whole area is one big series of valleys and some fairly steep hills. It’s also an intensely Catholic region, as attested by this tiny prayer chapel standing at a crossroads near Comblain-au-Pont.

In the same region is the village of Hamoir. This was our view hiking into the village. The route turned up into the hills behind it, of course.

Some of you may know that Nijmegen was the scene of a major battle in WW2. Off to the southeast stands a rather high plateau where the small town of Groesbeek is situated. There are monuments and graveyards all around that town, but this one is particularly poignant, because it portrays the paratroopers as buried in the ground. Some were shot up by German forces before they hit the ground. It was late in the day when this photo was taken.

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Not a Growth Industry

In our heart-led path, we have the full assurance all truth is already active within our convictions, but a lot of head knowledge arising from that isn’t triggered until someone or something provokes the right question. That’s how it works for us. We each will have our own answers to some questions, but there is often a broad agreement between us. This is how we decide to associate with each other, to form an online parish of like faith and practice.

Some comments surrounding the publication of the most recent book, and the series posted here that made up the book, have provoked some contemplation. I sense the need to explain some things just so the folks who support this ministry can understand the concrete reality that is implied by our shared convictions.

Radix Fidem is a little too esoteric for most folks. Private communication confirms that again and again. We will see growth, but only from a thin slice of humanity. It’s not that we are so elite, though some of us joke about that, but that we share a certain odd outlook that most of the world will never understand. But that doesn’t mean we can’t understand the rest of the world and what motivates them. I went into that series trying to reach a broader audience than the folks who tend to join themselves to this virtual parish. It’s our curriculum for outsiders.

Nothing about Radix Fidem lends itself to institutional growth. That’s simply not a part of our ministry here. We are sacrificial in that sense; we don’t expect much pay-back. If a return on investment is what drives you, this is not the right place for you. The very act of trying to define what we really need from religion means that we have an awareness that most folks don’t need the same thing. We are called by God to help those who would never join us.

The best gift we can give them is the heart-led sense of awareness about faith itself. The book tries to point the way to what it means to be committed from the heart, and it includes a heavy dose of Biblical Law — the sense of organic continuity between law and faith, versus the strict binary approach of Western heritage. But if they only thing they see is that first section on the importance of the heart as the seat of the faith, we have won the biggest battle. God can nudge them toward His divine character any way He likes after that.

The same Holy Spirit can help you discern when you have encountered someone who is ready for our covenant of Radix Fidem, so it’s not like I’m suggesting you keep that a secret. But you should realize that, for most of the world out there, that’s just too much too soon. We aren’t exactly reticent, but we are sparing them the shock of moving that far all at once. It’s far better for us as a covenant community that we attract only the few whom God designed and shaped like this. We should be looking to help folks find their own path. The world needs Jesus, not you and me.

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Published: The Heart of Biblical Living

The book is now published at Smashwords: The Heart of Biblical Living. As usual, I have my own copies in Word, LibreOffice and PDF. The cover art is an old Harold Copping painting, “The Temptation of Christ.”

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