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Three Dollars Worth of God. Yes, Please and Boxed to Go!


I really don't know what compels me to write each morning, though of late I seem distracted, preoccupied as I listen for what I trust are inspired clues dropped throughout each day.

Yesterday in church, I grabbed a tithe envelope and began scribbling in the white space, while my wife gave full attention to the sermon. She has now caught on, as before she would have elbowed me, thinking I was jotting down some random thought about a real estate deal.

The associate pastor's sermon was brilliantly designed around the improbability of a Messiah that would fulfill the 332 prophecies captured in the text of scriptures and over an estimated 4000 years since Abraham!

He offered a more abbreviated version than the scriptures demand, one proffered by Peter Stoner (see LaDonna, I was listening). Dr. Stoner, a Ph.D in mathematics was chairman of the Department of Mathematics and Astronomy at Pasadena City College until 1953.

Stoner's thoughts went something like this: if one were to mark a silver dollar, bury it under two foot of earth, somewhere across the vast state of Texas, then ask a blind man to find it, that is the likelihood of one man fulfilling only 8 of the 332 prophecies critical to the Messiah! Stoner offers a mathematical number of 1×10 to the 28th power! Again, only eight rather the the 332 fulfilled!

Back to the note scribbled, as I noticed a Christmon Tree in the corner of the sanctuary, a practice this Pentecostal recently turned Presbyterian was not used to, until he began dating a Lutheran over 50 years ago!

The first Chrismon tree (the word being derived from Christ & monogram) was created in 1957 by Frances Kipps Spencer and the women of the Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, Virginia.

The original purpose of such a tree was to better tell the story behind the Christ, God incarnate, the perfect expression of the nature of God manifest in a human being.

Yet, as we humans have attempted to box this story for delivery to the world, it seems at best, we have only created another version of religion. Multiple versions in fact, that now seem somewhat questionable to upcoming generations, and rightfully so given over 45,000 Christian denominations alone.

My feeble mind, though somewhat trained in scientific methods, given 20 plus years of preparation and teaching of the sciences (though relatively speaking, a knowledge base now more likely a fifth grade equivalency) has always struggled with our attempts at comprehending God by way of scripture alone.

At this point, even Luther would have nailed me, with his "sola scriptura,"

the same as he did with his 95 thesis in 1517. Just hold that thought, before you light the fire!

The Canon of text was hopefully distilled by way of prayerful debate among scholars, though during a somewhat political upheaval, some 300 years after the Bethlehem event, and over 4000 years since Abraham. God only knows how long since "Adam".

I have read, taught and attempted to faithfully live by it, though now each morning I am ever more challenged by the Spirit, as I pursue my fourth and quarter of truth!

I am now in the Book of Daniel, always a role model, yet having the strangely stirring book of Ezekiel placed by scholars just before, has somehow set me off this year!

Back to the Sunday sermon, and my pastor's application of Dr. Stoner's probability. I must say that seems quite convincing, yet even more convincing to me is our recent and seemingly ever expanding knowledge of the heavens.

As much as this earth's political and environmental madness adds credence to my evangelical upbringing with a sense of "end times" always in the back of my mind, what is being discovered in the heavens, the millions of ever expanding galaxies, also seems a timely display of the handiwork of this same Being, The One who was once manifest as the Christ.

Does not an artist's very work better represent the artist, than the words of those attempting to describe it?

Should not the galaxies, now suddenly being revealed by the Hubble and the James Webb add to and masterfully manifest, with great awe the Christ of God?

Yes, I believe God was first manifest in Creation, then and only secondly, though most prophetically, and yes, timely in Mary's babe as so accurately captured in scripture! But, the objective was more than a book for one's coffee table or nightstand.

My hope is that, soon the Bride of Christ, so ensnared by the Institutional Church will again fulfill the wordsthe Christ proclaimed, that we might be one with Him, as he is with the Father, something religion has failed to do in us!

Perhaps, that is the Second Coming, one requir with the bodily appearance so longed for by John, being the Third!

That surely requires an expanding upon our understanding, such as I hear promised as I read through the ancient writ of Daniel, a man unafraid of tyrants, lions or the the best of Babylon's religious scholars, their idolatrous ideologies so tightly boxed, that change, true metanoia became unlikely. We may be there again!

That word, metanoia, has now become somewhat bastardized, infering personal penance moreso than allowing grace to freely provide a true change of mind and heart.

I'll say it again, about every 500 years the Body of Christ undergoes significant collective "metanoia" and usually during that shift "good men die!" Those were the words of my friend, Brian McLaren when asked back in 2005, what might have to happen lest religion always win!

When that occurs, major shifts are required, though often mysterious manifestations occur, much like what we read in the Book of Acts. At minimum history records renewed refreshings and global impact.

I have now experienced too much blessing in my lifetime to now settle for only "Three Dollars Worth of God!"*

Hoping to see just that in the New Year, now seven years overdue, if we use Luther's 1517 transformational Treatise as our benchmark.

Daniel's tips us of such possibilities: "he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: he revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him." ‭‭Daniel‬ ‭2:21‭-‬22‬ ‭KJV‬‬

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