Posts Tagged truth
For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. [NRSA: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25]
Stumbling block of wisdom.
- God’s foolishness is wiser than our wisdom.
- God’s weakness of grace, patience, and love are our greatest gifts and blessings.
We do not like to be called fools.
- That means we should have known better.
- It means we might have underestimated our competition.
- We might have known what to avoid but did not follow what we knew to be good.
- Or we allowed our self to be misled or were taken advantage of by trusting the wrong person or not preparing for a task.
- Sometimes, we are called a fool, by a fool, who believes they hold the only solution, tool, or idea that is correct and their name-calling is a way of discouraging or degrading us.
- Most of the time we do not need anyone’s help in doing the opposite of what is good, right, needed, or true.
- When we look around, we have many role models of being fools.
Part of Paul play on words is between acting in foolish ways or thinking fool ideas compared to the foolishness we think of as humor.
Together let’s start with this prayer.
Mule & Farmer Story
The very first sermon I recall ever hearing about this comparing our wisdom with God’s foolishness, the preacher told a folk story about an old farmer whose mule was braying without ceasing all through the night. The next morning, he went out to the barn to examine the mule. As he poked, prodded, listened, and looked around the stall, he saw the mule had not eaten his dinner, his breath was terrible, and was laying down braying with the little energy the mule had. To touch the mule’s abdomen was we increate the bellows. The farmer called the vet who said, it is simple, your mule is constipated. I will be there in a half-hour! The farmer said, what will you do? The Vet said I will take a quart of mineral oil and half a cup of laxative and blow the mixture through a tube into the mule’s mouth. The farmer concocted the remedy confident that he was as smart as the vet and would be saving the fee by solving the problem himself. He told the vet, “No bother I will try that and call if it doesn’t work.” The farmer raced to connect an old milk jug, some tubing, and the mixture and fashion one end into the mule’s mouth. In his haste, he stirred up a bit of dust that caused the mule to take a giant sneeze, and just as the farm place the other end of the tube in his own mouth the mule blows first. Under the greater pressure, the farmer ingested a significant amount of the mule’s dose of the vet’s remedy. The farmer immediately regrated calling off the vet, who had had to call from the bed where he lay braying and moaning in the house. Moral: Sometimes when we think we know best; the mules blow first.
That is a long way to go to get a dose of foolishness, but we often take God’s gifts, plans, and breath into our own minds and hands and it backfires on us as well.
Humor and funny stories can be tools to tell the truth.
Being humorous is not Paul’s main point. Recognizing those who say they know better than God, despite their authority, popularity, and public approval, are in all times, fools to be avoided instead of emulated.
- The fools who believe the world’s news is more important than God’s news have already made a grave mistake before the first word is spoken.
- The fools who believe they have found the meaning of life without the need for God nor the flaws of religion place a greater wall of ignorance than millennia of ‘learned’ teaching.
- The fools say I know because they say they can replicate something in nature but they do so using elements already found in nature, and ideas that I have already been organized in God’s wisdom.
- The fool says I have learned, invested, given, tried, worked, served enough – it is someone else turn. God is never through with us and the moments we give up we forfeit what God will be doing through us next.
- The fool says the problem is too hard, I have failed in the past, We have tried before. We don’t have time, money, or people. “We can’t” and yet this is the confession that fools need to hear.
What can I do that is good, loving, and true, that is not done with God’s help, guidance, and blessing?
Who holds the power?
We have much learned in the academic world that invests trillions of dollars. We have political programs that reach through multiple generations of people. Our financial institutions span the globe with instantaneous transfers of wealth. Technology promises the rapid progress of amassing and discerning information at faster capacities than our minds can comprehend. But each of these has fundamental flaws that we choose to overlook in our society of progress. Academics can become bias. Politicians can be corrupted, we cannot eat consume legal tenders when we hunger, and where is technology when the power goes out? We need more than goals, ideas, control, and tools. We need the very reason to use all of these together, for good, in relationship to their design.
Alton Brown, Food Network Star, was the first person to that recall naming kitchen gadgets that take up room in the drawer or on the counter and can only do one job. He tries his best to avoid, “Unitaskers” preferring to invest in something that serves a variety of needs and not just one.
There are three exceptions in the kitchen.
- A thermometer for the oven
- A fire extinguisher
- A cherry pitter
These three save your teeth, keep your oven honest, and your home safe. They don’t need to do anything else.
But a salad spinner might be nice for cleaning lettuce, but you can also just shake it. A knife can peal a potato, slice meat, and pry open things.
What does multi-tasking and uni-tasking have to do with the Apostle Paul and the Christian faith?
As people with free will we are created with the freedom to be multi-taskers, but we are also created with a hope to become unitaskers.
When we are created with the ability to choose to love, trust, forgive, heal, bless, inspire, teach, share, build, feed, clothe, and befriend God and others because we share God’s love for life and relationship, then even though we are busing with many things in different times, we ultimately have one design that fits our nature.
The fool is using all the gifts, blessings, people, resources, talents, knowledge, and opportunity to serve themselves or those who believe God is not what makes the universe good, meaningful and loving, and we trade the ultimate joy for some little joy that lasts a moment compare an eternity of life in God.
I’ve been participating in a healthy choice lifestyle system that is not just a diet, with bars, shakes, weigh-ins, and coaching. The whole system is an experiment in learning how the little stuff adds up to the total. How one donut, a peanut butter cup, or a soft drink seem insignificant on their own, and in the moment, but by scales, sphygmomanometer, and glucose strips all tell me the little things have been adding up in a detrimental way. (Blood pressure cuff thingy is a sphygmomanometer.) The simple truth in changing my life and lifestyle is giving value and significance to individual small choices, ideas, and actions.
How do we shape our spiritual self? How do we find God? Where do we start to start fresh?
The how and why don’t actually matter as much as the starting to look at our lives the way God looks at
- our life,
- our family,
- our body,
- our value, and
- our purpose.
God’s story is told through the individual stories and events of people throughout time. That is what we find in the Old and New Testament. The average person in our community sees scripture as a book of judgmental rules, of dos and don’ts, that we believe we are the professional keepers of the truth. But this is not the real truth offered to us in scripture.
- God reveals God’s image and nature through us.
- God reveals God’s word and ideas in scripture.
- God reveals God’s presence in the creation, the wind, and the fellowship of God’s faithful.
So here we are, a third of the journey toward Easter is passing us by and where are we going?
- Who are we following in the day-to-day small stuff?
- Where are we headed with all that we carry in our bundle of responsibilities?
- How are we going find the heart of Christ in the face of fools telling us they know better than God than the church than us as the Body of Christ?
Let’s make one wise choice starting today, right now.
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these, the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal, there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all! [NRSA]
You have been raised with Christ,
- Seek the things that are above.
- Set your minds on things that are above,
When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
Put to death what in you is earthly:
- lustful passion,
- evil desire, and
WARNING: wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient.
These are the ways you also once followed when you were living that life.
BUT HOW? WHERE TO START?
But now you must:
- get rid of all such things—
- slander, and
- abusive language from your mouth.
- Do not lie to one another,
- Stripped off the old self with its practices,
- clothed yourselves with the new self,
- being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator.
In that renewal, there is no longer divided as the World divides, rather be UNITED IN CHRIST.
WHAT DOES UNITED IN CHRIST MEAN?
- Personal Behaviors and Attitudes
- the opposite of the world’s view of promiscuity – Fidelity, and Trust
- the opposite of me first, or myself above God – Faith and Worship
- the opposite of seeing people as objects for our happiness and power, all created by and for God
- the opposite of evil – God’s Love and Law
- the opposite of greed and idolatry Peace, Joy, Wholeness in God
Things to Deal with, throw away or get away from:
anger. No matter what people do we can’t HATE any away. wrath, Using our influence and resources for selfishness. malice, Intentional Harm (The Qualification of Do no INTENTIONAL harm) slander, Not repaying evil words and thoughts for evil words and thoughts. (Deal with Racism by yielding power not correctness) abusive languagefrom your mouth.
not lieto one another, Some times the truth is unfair, unpopular and even unclear, but lying to make some feel better or ourselves escape or protected cuts at the bonds of fidelity, trust, love, grace, etc.
We have one life to figure our future
- You and I have this life to determine if we will starve in the wilderness or eat God’s manna and trust God to make a way when our ways are dead ends.
- You and I have the breath of this one life, no matter where we have come from, to decide if God’s home is where we want to live.
- You and I have the free will and choice to choose God’s or to choose to rely on ourselves or others to make a way we believe is better. The consequences of choosing the other ways, than God’s way, all end with us being alone and apart from God.
- The Word to the Colossians and to us: We continually make the choice with our thoughts and actions to Trust God or ourselves.
While choosing God’s way, God’s heart, God’s love is simple to start. We have a daily choice of staying in that Grace of choosing another path. God never forces us to choose him not to stay with him.
Go back to the list:
Am I happy, content and whole:
- Because I have money and things enough for eternity? Sincere there is not eternity in my view, I want it all now.
- I’m just doing the best I can and I’m hoping for God to cut me some slack when the final exam comes, or will I recognize the need to call his name when trouble comes?
- I’d rather people all cooperate and get along and stay together even if I have to re-frame what God expects of us.
Why Make it So Hard
We make it hard on ourselves and one another. Jesus offers himself to us daily, the bread of life and the cup of salvation. Eat and Drink from the life that is eternal. Forget the slavery that goes with the fleshpots in back in captivity of some other allegiance.
Prayer: Jesus come into my heart and life right now and make me whole, make me yours, take my whole self- broken, confused and alone, fill me with our love and grace. Set my feet and my heart on you and the things of your kingdom. Have mercy on me, a waster of life and gifts and treasures and make me your own again today. Keep me in your will and change my heart, mind, and soul. Make my life a witness that leads someone else to your heart. Thank you! Praise you. Amen and Amen.
Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?” 35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” 36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” 37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” 38 “What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. [NRSV]
This Word is not my home, Albert Brumley, 1937 (11am)
This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through. My treasures are laid up, Somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me, From heaven’s open door, And I can’t feel at home In this world anymore.
Oh Lord, you know, I have no friend like you, If heaven’s not my home, Then Lord what will I do.
I have a loving mother, Just up in Glory land, And I don’t expect to stop, Until I shake her hand.
She’s waiting now for me, In heaven’s open door, And I can’t feel at home, In this world anymore.
Oh Lord, you know, I have no friend like you, If heaven’s not my home, Then Lord what will I do.
Just over in Glory land, We’ll live eternally, The saints on every hand, Are shouting victory.
Their songs of sweetest praise, Drift back from heaven’s shore, And I can’t feel at home, In this world anymore.
King of kings and Lord of Lords reigns a spiritual world that is not measurable by the laws of physics and science.
We are a physically citizen of the USA
We are the spiritual citizen of the Kingdom of God
The Micro-nation (9am)
Are you not tired of politics fighting. No matter the side of the fence you choose to stand, we are over-loaded with a constant fight to destroy one another. The heart ache is based in the passions that drive our beliefs.
— The PROBLEM: If everyone would value what “I” value then there would be peace and tranquility.
There are times I’d like to make my own little nation. Tiny House phenomenon, there is a Micro Nation phenomenon.
The problem with setting up your back yard as your own country is that becomes a legal threat against the United States. It might be all in our imagination but if everyone seceded one Saturday afternoon, stopped paying taxes, stopped voting, ignored the laws, rules and regulations we disagree, the imaginary idea of our own nations would corrupt the order of our real nation.
The result would be an increase of division and a decrease of safety and peace. Most certainly, there would be more politics, WHY? Because we cannot live without each other.
Politics in Church
Sanhedrin, temple authority board/council, were threatened by Jesus, because of his popularity with the crowds.
They use the Roman politics to keep their power and support of the populace.
–Rather than talk with your neighbor you get the home owners association to act
–Rather than question if you are right or wrong, find a legal technicality to call the police or better yet sue someone.
–Find the flaw in your opponent and exploit them with the system.
–Pass the dirty job to someone other than yourself AND you get what you want.
There are valid times for legal resolutions, but not the place to start.
School board, city Council, County commissioners, Senator and representatives, presidents, emperors as well as you and me.
To the Heart of the Solution is to Define and claim: Where is my primary citizenship?
The Conversation in the text
Governor Pilate has heard of Jesus. They have a political discussion about truth.
“Ok Jesus, they are charging you with challenging the authority of Caesar,
Are you a king?”
Are you guilty of the charges
Jesus sounds a bit vague, unclear, not straightforward. “You have answered correctly in saying, “You are a king.”
Pilate races through his memory, I asked the question. I didn’t make a statement. Grrr.
Ok, Jesus, what is the truth?
We live in an age of enlighten truth, shaped by the scientific method and defined by person accent/believe and/or popular opinion and personal offense.
Is it true that someone on some college campus call a student a derogatory name? Yes.
Therefore, the entire school has a fundamental problem with racism and the leaders have to be fired.
There is a double standard
Is it true that there are more unemployed and under-employed people today compared to eight years ago? Yes it is true.
Therefore, the entire economic system has fundamental problems with economics and the leaders have to be fired.
Oh, but that not the same at all.
Jesus is saying something that was just as unpopular to Governor Deal, as it was to Governor Pilate then.
Truth is not a variable
Truth is not an opinion
Truth is not our lump of metallic ore to shape and model into our own idol.
It’s one or the other: Truth in the eyes of the beholder VS. Truth is in God!’s will.
It might the atheists right to deny God, but their disbelief doesn’t negate God’s existence and patience with them.
Using the truth, and our understanding for person or corporate political gain is the issue
If I take a standard ruler and saw off 2 inches and say that new length s a foot. Is that the truth.
The valued the dollar changes daily. Isn’t that crazy?
Pilate passes the buck on Truth, Yet Speaks the Truth.
“I find no fault, you deal with your difference.”
A good leader is not going to pass the buck.
A good leader helps lift of the truth and stands behind that standard.
Independent of offense, popularity or opinion.
So where is our Truth?
If political majority is your guiding principles, Who made the majority of the people?
If political principle is your guiding passion, Who made of the network of the mind that things of better ways for folks to work together?
If you want everyone to be completely free to choose for themselves their own destiny? Who created freedom?
If you want to be led by the heart and compassion, Who are we called to forgive first? Those who think like we do, or our enemies?
If you want science and physics as your truth, who made the heavens and the earth?, who started the bang and ordered the science?
If you and I want to find the common ground, The Truth is God.
Even for those who deny God’s reality. God is big, tough and grace-filled enough to be TRUTH with Patience for us to trust that truth.
Jesus is the truth.
This is who were are. The people who believe above all else that God has always wanted to be in love and in relationship with us
Jesus is the, in the flesh example of God’s example and the means by which bridges us to God.
God’s Spirit continues to be reached out to us, drawing, inviting and welcoming the conversation.
Remember this if nothing else. You can talk about politics with God, but your can’t talk about God without getting to the truth of politics. We are living in God’s garden and playground.
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” NRSV
The world is often inside down.
The religious leaders were trusted teachers, role- models and respected community leaders.
The Tax collectors exploited the public; they were feared and mistrusted.
In the context of prayer and worship. The unlikely is made who. The expected is lost.
A caution to stay watchful throughout our lives.
We might know truth, good and righteousness with our head but loose the battle in real life.
In the context of giving and stewardship: don’t fool yourself give your whole true self to God’s remodeling plan. Self management is dangerous.
Confess our sins
Pray for mercy.
Go home whole not fooled.