Life, the Universe, and Everything, from the Outside In

Archive for the ‘freedom’ Category

May the Divorced Remarry?

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divorce trauma3
This question has plagued people now for centuries. The consensus in many “Bible-believing churches (should this be redundant?)” is that Jesus said it was an absolute no-no because God has decreed that every marriage is forever, end of discussion. But is this the case?

Before going farther, there is no intent here to encourage anyone to take the marriage vows any less seriously. “Til death do us part” still means the same thing and, as many of us know, divorce can be even worse than death for those so-affected. If you are married, then unless your life is in real danger, that is, if at all possible, make it work, please! Many go running out that “back door” only to find themselves slammed through the brick wall on the other side of the doorway.

If Jesus said that divorce is a sin, and that those divorced must stay single, then we have an interpretation problem. In the Sermon on the Mount He had said that He would not be changing “one jot or one tittle” of the Law of Moses, but to fulfill it. As a body, it is “fulfilled” when every figure and prediction has come to pass. At present count, the 2/3 which covers the Second Coming and the Kingdom Age is yet to happen. The Law, then, including the parts in which God gave the statutes for divorce as well as the parts for honoring parents, respecting others’ property, and loving God with our all, are still in effect.

“Giving divorce?” Yes, before the Giving of the Law divorce did not exist. A man had all rights in the marriage, including to expect a deserted wife to wait for him indefinitely in case he wanted to come back in a few years and sell her and her children on the auction block. God, through Moses, changed this for His people. “For the hardness of your hearts it was given” Jesus said. To protect the injured party from continued neglect, abuse, or infidelity the Law allowed a clean break, with a certificate to show that person was free to remarry or, as Moses wrote it, “free to go where she will.” Marriage, even remarriage, was the norm because of God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” and the male-driven economy which made it nigh-to-impossible for a woman to strike out on her own. This would have been the exception, not the rule.

If we but recognise that Jesus is, Himself, the Word, the Logos, of God, then we see that for Him to change course with any detail of the Law would be for Him to contradict Himself as the Law-Giver. It was not His purpose to outlaw divorce, or any other detail of the Law. As much as it can hurt, and yes it can be about like an amputation, if the amputation takes years to complete and the anesthetic is in short supply. But like an amputation it is not done for cosmetic purposes unless one is either incredibly dense or psychotic, but to save a life. In like manner, for the Church to marginalise the divorced would be like a handicapped parking spot being open for all but amputees.

Is this the whole story? Not by a long shot. There is more- We have yet to touch on Jesus actual words on the subject, or the implications in the Church for leadership, or the charge given to modern pastors and leaders for dealing with the situation as it stands. But this is a good spot to stop for questions. What’s yours?


Written by Robert Easter

Wednesday, 9 September, 2009 at 20:21

The New Dark Ages

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Two observations about History as taught- as you and I were fed it in school, that is. One, that it is edited, obviously, and, second, that it is deadly boring. Now, Mr. Santayana said once, “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” We hear that now and then, usually when the news anchor is trying to make a point for his/her own camp. Example? As much as we hear repeated about Hitler’s atrocities, how much is mentioned about Stalin, Mao, or the present “leaders” in China, the Islamic nations, or other present-day atrocities? Santayana was right, but in more ways than what we generally understand.

Remembering history is more than keeping in mind selected bites from the Evening News. Remembering history means having a clue what we’ve come from, so we can have some idea where we’re going.

One thing about this badly edited, deadly-boring subject that passes as History: The people who are spotlighted are then glossed to the point where all you see is the sheen of the writer’s ink, and nothing of the person him/herself. A lot of “just because.” One phrase I still remember from 7th grade is, “Abraham Lincoln was one of the Nation’s greatest Presidents, even though he was plagued with the great Civil War.” Lovely words- the work of a poet. But what if a student asks, say, how he was “plagued” with a war when he was in command? The Federal armies, understand, were on the offensive, on Southern land, in every battle but Gettysburg, and that was two years into the campaign. If that campaign were a plague to him, would he not have considered Davis’s offers of surrender? (Remember, it took every other American conflict from the Revolution through Viet Nam to approach the loss of life in those four years!)

Not to be selling a partisan pitch, but using that bit of tinder to catch this spark: Historians research history, and find out the details that make up the picture, and they do tend to have opinions which guide what they know or don’t know. Textbook writers make up a gloss from parts of that picture they choose, and package it for boards and committees who generally have little interest in what happened when, or why; and in the end , between Don’t Know and Don’t Care, the students wind up with even less. If we are doomed to repeat the history we have forgotten, then we are headed back to the dark ages: but then, who knows enough history to recognise them?

Written by Robert Easter

Friday, 15 August, 2008 at 9:58

Aborting our Souls?

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The Wall Street Journal today, in a story about an upcoming report on the effects of the abortion trauma on the mothers involved, quotes one clinic director, Susan Hill, who runs clinics in five southern states, as saying that, “‘..women today need less counseling, less psychological care than they did in 1973,’ when abortion was legalized but still carried an enormous stigma.” We might speculate that this is in line with the overall loss of sensitivity for human life, generally. Over the last thirty or so years we seen a shift from a time when the film, Bonnie and Clyde

(From Warner Brothers, no less- What’s up, Doc?) stirred such controversy over its gory scenes. Now Hitchcock’s style of suspense stories has been replaced by “splatter films,” and pop music now features brutal rape and murder in place of undying love and devotion.

Ms. Hill, who has been in the business of “providing abortions” for thirty five years, said she, “has tried offering postprocedure counseling sessions — but very few women show up.” In her words, “They want to get past it and move on with their lives.” Overlooking the possibility of all kinds of motives for not returning to the “clinic” to walk through that trauma all over again, it might be good to consider the real effects on all the people in this picture. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Robert Easter

Tuesday, 12 August, 2008 at 15:32

Free in the Middle!

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Lately we hear people saying that the Bible is just a book, but it is only in Jesus that God revealed Himself. It is generally packaged in language that would sound a lot nicer, saying the Christ, alone, is the Word, or that the Bible is made of physical stuff like paper and ink, so how can we really trust it. Interestingly, a lot of these folks happen to have some paper and ink hanging on a wall someplace, which they expect to be taken quite seriously.

So what do we have, if we “only” have Jesus as God’s revelation? First off, without the 300+ Bible prophecies He fulfilled we’ve already overlooked some amazing credentials. Then we would also lose His history within the Old Testament record as there are a number of incidents in which He shows up as a special messenger for God, whether as the “Captain of the Lord’s hosts” to Joshua, the mysterious Melchizadek who met Abraham, and to whom Abraham gave a tithe (tenth part) of all he had gained in a miraculous victory of his servants against the kings of three cities, or any of many others. Then still we have Jesus quoting and authenticating the writings we’ve just been told aren’t authentic. Can we have it both ways? If God has spoken to us at all, then Jesus Christ is right in the middle of God’s revelation of Himself, as God personally, come as a man for mankind!

On the Cross, Jesus lived out what David wrote in Psalm 22 (among other places), and what Isaiah described in chapter 53 (among other places), and then rose again as predicted (again…). When He did rise, He told His disciples that it was necessary that He die and rise again as predicted in the Prophets, and that He would be returning to set all things right. If we take a serious look at Bible prophecy we find that hundreds of warnings and promises have already comeabout concerning captivities and returns, setting up and bringing down of kingdoms, and especially of Jesus’ coming as the “Son of Joseph,” the suffering Messiah. The promises of His Return, and the resurrection of all the dead (the righteous to eternal life, the rebellious to eternal torment) are just as sure, with His own resurrection as living proof that God is able to do even that.

So what do we do with that? Thomas had his doubts, but when confronted with the living Christ could only say, “My Lord and my God!” Thousands since him have gone the same way: They had their doubts, but when they were faced with that one Reality gave up their own worn-out opinions (as they suddenly saw them to be) for the Truth of God. When we consider what is in the balance, this is definitely one question that is worth finding out. Like Jesus said, “They will now the truth, and the truth will make them free,” and, “He whom the Son sets free is free indeed!”

Written by Robert Easter

Sunday, 20 April, 2008 at 18:04

Three Options, One Choice

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When Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life:” He chose His words very carefully.

The: Not that He said a way, as if there are “many paths to God,” but neither did He say “my teachings are the way!

Way: He Himself is the road to God.

The truth: Again the exclusive. Any notion is true, relative to this one truth. Himself!

The life: What does this say about those “outside?”

He then emphasised, “No one comes (not goes) to the Father but by Me.”

And, notice, He started off that statement with a phrase that fit the conversation disturbingly well!

A popular song some years back said, “Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.” If right were a matter of opinion, then nobody could really, be right, could they? What would “right” mean? A plurality of opinion votes? 51%? Full agreement?

If we were to “campaign” for truth, then surely Jesus would have some great qualities as a teacher, but a lot of things He said about His own person and purpose don’t let us stop there. While skeptics today doubt all the miracle stories and “I am” statements in the Gospels, we must remember that there were enough witnesses to those miracles, and to the Resurrection, that for the first several hundred years the Church didn’t have to argue for His divinity, but His humanity. There seems to have been no doubt about the Resurrection, even among the enemies of the Faith. If the priests or the sect leaders could have opposed that notion, surely with their thousands of followers it would not have taken a week to find the body, but nobody seems to have even tried. Their concern, from all accounts, was for “damage control” /after the fact!/

So what do we do with this claim? As somebody put it, either He’s a liar, a lunatic, or Lord of all. If His had been another messianic movement, then why was such love, and not power or authority His main thrust, even when His followers were ready to launch a revolt in His name? And surely, any other man would have confessed under the torture He endured, hoping at least for a quicker death. Besides that, a politico or scam artist would have been a bit more careful to tell people things they could understand, and not rock the boat so badly. He rocked everybody’s boat, from the far left to the far right in religion and politics!

A lunatic, then? What He had to say was too consistent, and the root of mental illness seems to be a heightened sense of pride or self-preservation. He taught about “laying down one’s life,” and demonstrated it! A “great teacher” would have spent more time on discourses, but He basically affirmed the moral law and its foundation in the Jewish Bible, and went so far as to say it applies to our hearts as well as our hands, and that He was come to be the ultimate holocaust: the sacrifice victim that would finally take our sins away. Radical, but definitely not crazy.

Logically, that only leaves us with Lordship. But what do we do with that? History gives us three options. We may, like many of the rulers of that day, oppose His message (can we divide the Person from His message, if the Person is true?) in a scramble to maintain control regardless of either truth or consequences. For such a person, I have only the deepest pity. Others somehow insist on dis-believing these things based on things they have read or heard. Those who make this choice I would beg, on bended knee, to check your sources. There is a lot of publishing that is based on a writer’s attempt to prove what they already choose to believe, but this is a matter much more important than merely picking opinions like sports teams, though some do enter into it that lightly.

The third option is simple belief. He has said it, and proven it, and history supports it. Belief though, is not a mere opinion, but a life: A life lodged within the Life!

Written by Robert Easter

Sunday, 13 April, 2008 at 8:40

The Payoff?

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Continued from “Invisible Sidewalks” (below)

So then our goal in all this- What is it? To drop our blessed backsides into a holy hammock and catch a Son tan? Not likely. We so often speak of “Our Heavenly Reward” as it were some kind of trophy home on high that we have earned by our own religiosity. No matter if that religiosity had more to do with the number of prayers we prayed, or the number of sinners we prayed with, or just that we did, one time, pray a “sinner’s prayer.” Short answer to a long question: It ain’t about us! Glory is not about personal gain any more than it is about a jihadist’s dreams of an eternal orgy. John wrote in 1st John 3, “..We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” A Christian’s hope, though yes there will be “joy unspeakable, and full of glory,” yet all that will be a fulfillment of what has begun here in this life: Our hope is that we will see Jesus, face to Face, and be changed through love for Him to be like Him Whom we see! If that is the goal, then where is the road? Is that is what we are hoping for, what we are seeking now, or is there some kind of “sanctified selfishness” in the picture someplace? Could we ever hope to gain more than Jesus?

Written by Robert Easter

Wednesday, 2 April, 2008 at 15:36

Invisible Sidewalks?

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Picking up from “Pearls…” (below):

The streets in the City are made of “gold purified by fire, as clear as crystal.” Pure gold is a picture of faith throughout the Bible, and it is surely a “walk by faith” to step out onto a path that can’t be seen. those who walk on such streets have to be accustomed to walking where they cannot see, and going where they do not understand. For them, the invisible pavement will not be something unusual, but their usual way of walking, as we read, “for we walk by faith, and not by sight!”

With our eyes closed? No, but with our faith open! To follow Christ, to walk with Him, is a picture of sharing, trust, and love. What we do is as He leads, and empowers us. If we do not obey and walk with Him, it is not, as some suggest, a matter of faith, since it’s “just natural.” “The natural man,” the Bible tells us, “cannot understand the things of God,” but His plan for the Church is to comprehend His fullness and be transformed into His likeness, even in this life. So the harder we press forward, and the more of ourselves we give over to Him, the more we are (hopefully) showing the real faith that He has planted in our hearts. Not “works,” proving our own merit, but faith producing a loving obedience to our Lord. Stay tuned for the transformation!

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Written by Robert Easter

Thursday, 27 March, 2008 at 22:02