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The Crucible

This morning is one of those moments when writing is the only way to settle the urgency of my spirit.

The older I get the greater the urgency, and yet the more settled seems the truth as I know it.

With my love for science, more specifically, Chemistry, this title and image best captures the moment I find myself in.

A moment in which I desire to articulate what I have learned in my life journey so as to benefit the generations that follow. My most meaningful contribution to the world is at stake, my grandchildren.

This paragraph rattled me, the quote by former pastor, Jim Palmer, taken from his controversial book entitled, Notes From (Over) The Edge.

"Let’s say you were sitting at your child’s bedside and witnessing the effects of a nightmare they were experiencing. The child moans and groans, and tosses and turns. The fear is so real that the child is soaked with sweat. As a loving parent, what do you do? Do you try and creep into the child’s dream and fix it? No, you awaken them from it! Too often religion is in the “fix dream” mode, while Jesus was about waking people up."

As I witness the rapid departure from the faith as practiced for generations by my family, which I believe is the result of a growing mistrust of the very vehicle that has for centuries communicated that faith, namely the Christian Church, I feel compelled to share my heart.

My calling seems more crucible-like by the moment, with this G-d which Moses knew as the I Am, a name referenced in Hebrew only as YHWH, seemingly prodding me to "do this in his name." (Reference my post on Maundy Thursday vision).

The four letters, YHWH, written and read from right to left in Hebrew, are yodh, he, waw, and he. The name may be derived from a verb that means "to be" or "to exist".  At least that is my best understanding ftom recent online research.

From there in English, we moved to an agreed upon word, "God" to describe this entity deserving of our worship, around which a religion called Judaism had evolved. Numerous laws had been prescribed for our keeping until a Messiah would arrive.

However, when Christ was born, and in a way that indisputably aligned with that Messianic thread, one woven throughout the ancient Hebrew scriptures, He, Jesus proclaimed a gospel of grace that so differed from the religious thoughts of his day, that he was ultimately crucified.

Yet, even in his death, He mirrored the flawless Lamb that religion had required by law! We to this day, struggle with the transition from law to grace, even declaring one an Old Covenant, the other the New!

Those who denied the New, had only to

produce one cold body, thus silencing those who professed to have seen the Christ ressurected. There was none to be found!

Countless appearances of a ressurected Christ were recorded and out of that a following, just as Jesus had predicted. That small group of 120 experienced an impartation, one recognized by a rebellious Peter as that prophesied by the prophet, Joel!

The Called Out One's, the Ecclesia, the Body of Christ was born. Yet within only a few hundred years, this movement, which had spread like wild fire was seized upon by Constantine, contained by the promise of political empowerment, rather than continied martyrdom.

The institution was birthed.

“In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centering on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece, where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome, where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe, where it became a culture. And, finally, it moved to America, where it became an enterprise.”

Please hear my struggle as a believer, a devoted churchman, a grandfather and a community leader.

I cannot be silent any longer, for the only thing grounding me is the reality that on January 3,1973, this Presence, the I Am of Moses' day met me in my Dad's living room and changed by life.

That same YHWH has now led me on an amazing journey through almost every sector of community, providing an observation of numerous religious expressions in real life scenarios, none fully manifesting the love I have found in my personal moments alone with the God who became flesh, the Christ.

We (to include myself) humans are an interesting lot, so fickle and unpredictable, regardless of our faith. Throw in economic duress, a global market, a growing wealth gap and diminishing employment, then suddenly we are again near revolution, though even more civilized it would seem. We need the Body of Christ better positioned than the Ship of Zion has provided, in other words another Reformation, an Awakening that is truly transformational!

This G-d of mercy who became fully human, lived a life so divine that even calendars were divided based upon his birth and death, has indeed risen from the grave. In His very own words, "It is finished," his followers now empowered to demonstrate similar miracles, even to communicate his love in tongues unlearned. Where has all that gone?

Religion is powerful, gripping and even threatening when politicized. So it seems that religion has fully resurfaced, raising its ugly head.

"Religion is our human response to the dual reality of being alive and knowing that we have to die." - Rev. Forrest Church.

A loving and personal presence is what The Father has offered, "that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery." Hebrews 2:14-15

Thus we should no longer be threatened by what life hands us nor the fear of our ultimate death. Neither do we have to give our lives over to religion to solidify that assurance.

Even water baptism was merely an outward sign of our inward belief, not an act required for accessing the Kingdom. In fact, it was only a physical means of allowing our minds to better perceive a full immersion in the Spirit, as promised by the Christ.

God is with us and the work of grace finished for us. Let religion exercise itself for what comfort it may bring, but as for me I will trust the Father, who is love, over what men may impose as requirements for access to The Presence, the power that holds the galaxies together!

There is no mediator nor method necessary to enter in, for the One became flesh and dwelt among us, a demonstration of love, as a,Father requiring nothing else of His offspring, yet offering everything our deepest soul desires: relationship with both God and man; personal freedom to live into our unique calling; and, a life abundant as we do so.

My crucible runneth over!!!

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