April 28, 2009 at 4:16 am (Biblei-Octopi, Politic) (, , , , )

Obama has completed his first 100 days as President of The United States of American, congratulations. So, as art often likes to renown itself with an innovation of offense, we have the most recent poli-religious painting of note. What better time to have a religious/spiritual discussion as brought into the public arena via art and by the artist’s own declaration as a discussion of “truth”.

The object inspiring this post is the most recent messianic depiction of Obama (not the first, probably not the last), it brought to my mind a comparison of the accomplishments of Christ what might be perceived as the highest nature of the accomplishments of our President, Barak Obama.

In regards to the implications of this painting, I’d like to state that first of all, I hope that Obama does lead in a Christ-like manner. How amazing would it be that he would lead the nation to consider the laws of God, honoring the will and kingdom of God above all else? I pray that he would take to himself the words of Christ in saying, “My delight is to do your will, oh God.”

When you look at the historical cross, what imagery does it bring? I suppose that most would associate it with salvation, though even in Evangelical circles there would be some disagreement as to the definition, nature and extent of that action. If you look to the Biblical account of the cross, you find the culmination of the redemption narrative – in other words, this is a pivotal moment, a climax in the entire story of God’s salvation plan for mankind.

From the account of Adam, who did have a choice to sin or enjoy the full presence of God. Whom God gave every excuse not to sin but did indeed choose to disobey, chose to disregard a very simple and plain command and thereby calling upon himself his removal from the blessing of pure fellowship in the presence of God. Even in that account, there is the promise of the Savior to come, the One who will crush the serpent’s head, the One who will conquer the work of Satan, the hold of death and the bondage resulting from man’s sin.

The message of the cross is salvation, but when you see Christ upon the cross, from WHOM and/or WHAT is Christ saving us from? Who set the consequence for the disobedience of Adam and Eve? Who cast Adam and Eve out of the garden? Who made the promise of redemption? Who will we (you and I) face when this short life ends and to whom will we have to give an account to?

If Obama is in any sense a savior, whom and/or what is he saving us from? If Obama’s most ambitious goals are accomplished, will we be saved – saved from what? As intriguing of a historical figure Obama may be, do we really put that many of our chips in the ability of a single political figure to reshape our collective and individual paths? (Parenthetical sidenote: when one political figure is looked to as the lone figure to reshape a nation’s course, it historically doesn’t tend towards a positive end)

As a historical observation on the definition of the messiah, when Christ came many were expecting a political ruler, for that King of the Jews to rise and bring a sword to crush the Roman Empire (Herod feared this at Christ’s birth, going to great lengths to kill Him even as a baby). There were many in Jesus’ day that were severely disappointed that He came not for political rule upon this earth (something Satan offered Christ), but came to offer His life as a sacrifice for many. Now, in our current illustrations of “the messiah” the redemptive work is still seen as insignificant/trivial and reduced to a politicized imagery.

To be sure, Christ is THE Ruler of all, He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, do not confuse His patience for laziness/forgetfulness. In this artful or political search for a “messiah” perhaps one should account for the consequence of finding a political savior but meeting the end of life without an eternal one. Another job, a dent in the federal deficit, even the end of war are some of the highest political possibilities (stretch) but death is certain.

As a people who claim to follow Christ, take a moment to recheck your Christ against the Christ that Christ revealed. If you are a person who has never encountered Christ’s command to, “Follow Me.” Perhaps today is that day. The cross is a message of salvation, salvation in Christ alone.

Link to article that brought this painting to my attention – HERE

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Spending Your Life

February 22, 2009 at 5:08 am (Biblei-Octopi) (, , , , , , )

I like to read while I am in the restroom. On this particular occasion I forgot to bring some current reading material with me so I grabbed some materials out of “the drawer” where some of the unfinished magazines and books find rest. I read a small section from a trade magazine and then grabbed “The E-Myth Contractor: Why Most Contractor’s Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It”, a supplemental follow up to “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber. (As a side note, if you are looking for a book that will help you with directional values and to solidify business principles, I recommend The E-Myth Revisited)
I happened to turn to a section dealing with the subject of time:

The first thing you have to do is put Time into perspective. You’ve got to think of it as Time with a capital T…You must accept that you have only so much Time, that you’re using up that Time second by precious second. And that Time, your Time, your life, is the most valuable asset you have. Of course, you can use your Time any way you want. But unless you choose to use it as richly, as rewardingly, as excitingly, as intelligently, as fully, as intentionally as possible, you’ll squander it and fail to appreciate it. (pg 95,96)

This segment helped to bring home a principle that time is more than a component of life; in many senses time is life. How you spend your time is defining your life. The message of your life, the conclusion of your life (your legacy), is being written in time.

How altering is it to understand that spending time is more than just seconds turning into minutes, each second is life that you are spending and of which you have a limited supply?

If you are spending time in worthwhile pursuits then you can say that you are investing your life in what is important to you. If you feel that you are wasting time, you may very well be wasting life. Be careful where you invest your time for you are paying with your life, literally.

In practical terms, we exchange time for money, which means we are selling a portion of our lives for money. If we thought of the exchange rate of life for money, perhaps there would be fewer things that we were willing to pay for with our lives. There is much that we can waste our lives on, but there is also much that we can invest our lives in.

Life in this current measurement of time has a definite end. Christ spoke to the matter in this way, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 NIV) Not that you can spend your time to earn salvation, but are you spending your life pursuing things that will give it back? Is what you are spending your life on worth the investment; worth the price of your life?

Jesus set the example of spending life (time) with God as well as investing his life (time) in the lives of others. Even though He died (on the cross), Christ says that He gave His life and did so to ransom many (Mark 10:45). Christ lived to fulfill the purpose that God had given Him. His life was very much intentional and He spent His time pursuing His purpose. God raised Christ to again demonstrate His power over death (the end of life). Christ died and rose to save the lives of others. Christ died to save your life and to bring great promise as well as purpose to the living of your life – the spending of your time.

My last post (The Spiritual Reality of Busyness) promoted a series of messages by Michael Kennedy, the first of which confronts the cultural pressure of busyness and how this has largely been adopted in the lives of Christians as well as the church. 50 minutes well spent to help you identify and confront these cultural pressures that distort our focus and often cause us to spend our lives (time) unwisely.

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