Monday, March 26, 2007


I was on the floor weeping like a child, the taste of garlic haunting my mouth.

That was one week ago today.

Since then, God led to through a time of prayer and searching - shaping my heart into something I could never be.

One week ago today, I came home after a haphazard day. I stumbled from class to class as if the world and everything in it was a dream. The dream was one of those that held the sense of nightmare, only for no definable reason. My stomach was churning in knots, this gut-wrenching pit settled in my abdomen.

I had not eaten all day, and really had to desire to, but I ate some garlic -seasoned fish anyways hoping I'd feel better. It didn't work. I became sick. The world continued to turn in surreal way, the dream more real than ever. My heart was pounding. It had been pounding all day; I could feel it literally vibrating my entire body.

I did not understand why the world seemed so different, and why I felt so detached yet disturbed by everything. The garlic taste would not leave my mouth; its bitter, potent taste because representative of the feeling I could not shake. I was hurting deeply and I didn't know why.

So, I began praying as I sat, sick on the bathroom floor. I turned to God and left the question completely open-ended for Him to answer - something I've now learned I rarely do. I hit a low point, and I cried to God.

I believe God was getting my attention. I called out to God and He answered. What he told me led me down a path over the next week that changed many beliefs that I once held closely.

to be continued...

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Tonight I saw Zodiac. I had first heard of the Zodiac Killer a few years back when I saw a special on the History channel. Frankly, it captured my attention did then as much as it did again tonight.

The Zodiac, as he called himself, was a serial killer in the 1970s. He was never caught.

The prime suspect died of a heart attack before any charges could be brought against him, and only after being first cleared due to fingerprint and DNA evidence.

The movie was surprisingly accurate, historically. And some parts were honestly creepy - and with good reason.

This sort of thing is unnatural to us, as humans. Without getting into Aquinas' Natural Law axiom and all, I do believe that we humans are innately created with a sense of an ethic. Now this varies, of course, from person to person. But unjustifiable homicide is wrong in the views of most societies. In fact, this so well accepted as a norm that we consider actions to the contrary anti-social. And we jail people for anti-social behavior.

But, I"ll be honest: serial killers interest me, like any other mental disorder. Psychopathology has always fascinated me. The brain is such a complicated device, if it can be called that. And we only notice anything about it when something goes wrong. The brain is so complex that much of what we know about it comes from when it fails to operate as it should. I've taken classes on abnormal psychology in college just for fun. And it is interesting.

Serial killers can obviously classified as exhibiting signs of mental illness. They are cold yet calculating. There are some very unusual characteristics and similarities among serial killers. My question is why?... Is there something genetic? Is it simply the way a person is raised? I don't think the answer is clearly black and white. There's lots of gray.

But no matter the cause, we must all contend with the idea that there is innately a dark side to humanity. It is exhibited in the ability of one person to disregard the value of the life of another. Among the population on this planet, while most of us agree that murder is wrong, there are those who are not only indifferent to that ideal, but desire the opposite.

And that is a reason for chills to crawl up your spine.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


"Here are forty thousand men gathered together on this plain. What are they going to do? See, there are thirty or forty thousand more at a little distance. And these are going to shoot them through the head or body, to stab them, or split their skulls, and send most of their souls into everlasting fire, as fast as they possibly can. Why so? What harm have they done to them? O none at all! They do not so much as know them. But at man, who is King of France, has a quarrel with another man, who is King of England. So these Frenchmen are to kill as many of these Englishmen as they can, to prove the King of France is in the right. Now, what an argument is this! What a method of proof! What an amazing way of deciding controversies!"
-John Wesley

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


One of my closest friends is into philosophy in all kinds of ways. And he's started getting me into the discipline.

I'm preparing a study looking at the history of the idea of Christian love. It's quite interesting. I don't believe there is such a subject in theology that has been as neglected as love. It is rarely studied - only assumed to be understood.

So, I'm starting with Plato, who lived over 400 years before the development of Christianity. His view dominated the Hellenistic world in which the New Testament comes out.

It's amazing how philosophy so greatly influences religion. I'm starting to read more and Plato and looking at Platonic views in Christianity - they're there and are very obvious when you look for them.

I used to think "why does Plato matter? he has nothing to do with the Bible!" I was completely wrong. Platonic philosophy dominated the Hellenistic world and it is important to understand its thinking if we are to fully grasp what the NT writers were talking about with respect to love, for example.

Monday, March 05, 2007


I have become seriously interested in Biblical scholarship since my sophomore year of college. I've had the amazing blessing of studying under one of the top New Testament scholars in the country. But what's so great about Biblical scholarship is the inclination to question the scriptures, while still holding them to be authoritative.

Many people are scare of questions - many are scared of the potential answers. I used to be scared of these answers myself, until I was forced to answer the questions, and then I found my faith had changed and had grown - not diminished. A different faith is not a worse faith.

I have a different faith from when I began dipping into the historical-critical research of the Bible. And this is not a bad thing; I believe my faith is strong because of my Biblical research and studies. Still, some writing of historical-critical questions as "liberal."

If understanding the Bible the way its writers intended means that I'm 'liberal,' so be it.

So, I've been researching the concept of "Son of God" in the NT. "Son of God" usually means king. This is no doubt how it is meant in the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus is seen as the Messiah (the one who is sent my God to inaugurate his plan on the earth), and the ideal King (son of David = Son of God).

In Matthew's Gospel, Son of God means a king. Kings were thought to have a special channel to God - it's the whole rule by divine right thing. Kings were God's representatives on the earth. This is how Jesus is seen - as Son of God.

Of course this leads to the question of whether or not Jesus, then, was the physical Son of God, as most Christians would contend. This is not a dangerous question; but a serious one. Christians have struggled with this since the dawn of Christianity. Mainstream Christianity has settled on a Trinitarian doctrine that includes an understanding of Jesus as the physical Son of God. But this isn't the meaning of the title Son of God in Matthew.

So, are we taking our understanding of Jesus from scripture? Or are we just believing what we've been told?

Let's look at John's gospel for a further answer. John clearly understands Jesus to be God incarnate. He understands Jesus to be literally God in the flesh. Mainstream Christian understanding of Jesus in the Trinity is consistent with John's view of Jesus.

So, do these two view contradict each other? Not exactly; here's why... Matthew, the "Jewish" gospel, cannot have an understanding of God as procreative because of its blasphemous nature. Blasphemy, after all, was the crime that Jesus was brought to trail on. Matthew, very delicately, handles Jesus' relationship to God as Father. But YHWH incarnate? Matthew doesn't go as far as John because of the potential blasphemous nature of such claims. I believe this is done out of respect for YHWH, not fear of prosecution, however.

The two do not contradict each other; they just have a different understanding of Jesus. Matthew sees Jesus in terms of the ideal King (Son of God). John sees Jesus in terms of God incarnate. Neither is wrong; both are right.

There is a Biblical basis for the traditional Christian belief of Jesus as God incarnate.

But we have also learned that we cannot use "Son of God" in Matthew to defend a belief that Jesus was the literal, physical son of God. To do so would miss the mark of the writer's point.

Learning to question is not a bad thing; it furthers our understanding of scripture and we pick up on what the writers of the Bible originally meant.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


I saw a program my TiVo recorded yesterday about the end of the world. The History Channel showed this episode about many different fortune-tellers and 'prohesyers' throughout history who claim that the world will end on December 21 (Winter Solstice) 2012.

Among those are the Mayans who constructed one of the most elaborate calendars in ancient history. The show was very sensational; it wanted to scare its audience. And I must admit I was getting a bit spooked, until they brought in the Bible - and the book of Revelation.

Now, I won't get into the details and my whole beef with their fallacious interpretation of the last book in the Bible, but I will say that all credibility for the show was lost in a moment.

So, this got me thinking... why are we so fascinated with the future?... when, I believe, that we don't want to know it anyway? I've learned some pretty tough lessons the past month or so - about life, love and purpose. And I believe that when we seek to know the future, we confuse the purpose of our life with the actions and events in our lives.

I believe that I live to bring glory to God - through my love for people and my life for Him. This is all the 'future' that I need to know and be aware of - that no matter what happens the purpose of my life does not change.

Because I know the purpose of my life, there is no need to seek out future events. If I did want to know future events in my life, it would be because I am awaiting them - to then my life could have purpose and meaning. But since I have found that purpose - events do not matter.

Death is only another event in my life - it does not give me purpose, except that, I pray, in some way it will bring glory to God. Therefore, I have no desire to know the time of my death or even the End of Days. They are only events, and should not serve to provide us with a purpose for life.


I can finally breathe - without the aid of sinus medication.

Therefore, I am now back to blogging.