Just A Quick Update!

First, I want to thank all of you who sent emails to check on me or requested access to the website. (I had made it “not visible” because I didn’t want anyone to leave comments, etc. that never got posted or responses, etc.)

Second, all is fine here for me and my chickens. I did receive a job offer as a temporary employee shortly before my unemployment ran out. That was a blessing, even though it only paid about $1.00 more per hour that what I received through unemployment. It DID allow me to continue paying my “big” bills and fulfilling my financial pledge to my church.

In a little over a week, I will begin a permanent job with benefits and a better hourly rate. And I won’t need to be getting up at 4AM! (That’s even before the chickens are ready to get up!)

More importantly, I have learned to be much less anxious about the future. I’ve learned that I can truly trust God to take care of me. It may not be in the way that I hope for or imagine, but He is dependable. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that it has taken 60 years to begin to learn such a basic lesson.

Oh, and my girls would be disappointed if I didn’t let everyone know that Miss Bessie has been laying eggs for about a month now almost every day! The others aren’t quite there yet, but it shouldn’t be too much longer. Two are already eyeing the nesting box curiously and wondering what goes on in there!

Finally, I’ve removed the “not visible” from the website. Who knows, there may be some who still want to read previous posts. I just can’t guarantee any responses to comments, etc. It is likely that I will pick up posting again regularly once I’ve gotten adjusted to my new job and have better, more reliable technology.

I can’t say what any new posts will be like. There are some of the old comic characters that just don’t “speak” to me the way that they once did. I can’t “hear” their dialogue in my head any more. In other words, Laser Eyes Jesus may have zapped his last zap. But that may not be such a bad thing. When I look at the statistics for “likes,” the “Some Serious” posts really do way outnumber the “Some Funny” posts even though there are more in the “Some Funny” category.

Perhaps some of that has to do with getting older. A good deal of it has to do with being concerned about how WordPress can be used as a tool to reach “Church Outsiders.” Some of the posts here did that, I believe. But most seem to have only reached “Church Insiders.” Not that I would consider that a bad thing…it’s just that more and more I feel that the world of “Church Outsiders” has turned its back on Real Life Jesus and I want to somehow be a part of the solution.

Well, that’s about it for how. Thanks again for everyone’s kind words and prayers!


P.S. Sorry no graphic…working from the library computer!

“My Shield And My Reward, My Lord” or “IX-NAY On The OMANS-RAY”

This post is a result of another of my non-traditions Bible Study methods called “The Snow Globe Method.” With this method, you just need to have a lot of different Bible verses and hymn choruses and sermon notes and things your grandma told you all floating around in your mind. Get as many as you can in there! 

Then you shake them all up, wait for them to settle, and whatever is on the top, that’s what you use! The key for this to be successful is to have a lots of materials, just like how a real snow globe is more interesting if you have (1) Big Chunky Sequin Shapes and (2) Sparkly Glitter along with (3) Plenty Of Plain White Snowflakes.

So let’s see what’s in there!

Big Chunky Sequin Shapes…That’s the part about Father Abraham And The Lord’s Covenant Promise With Him. (Genesis 15)

  • The first time God told anyone “Fear not.”
  • The first time anyone called God “Adonai, Lord.”
  • The first time God shows up and makes a Promise Covenant representing both Himself and Humankind.

Sparkly Glitter…That’s the part about Our Boy Samuel Hearing From The Lord. (1 Samuel 3)

  • The first time God spoke and appeared to anyone in a really long time.
  • The first time we ever get a look at what it means to have the heart of a servant in a child.

Plenty Of Plain White Snowflakes…That’s the part about Jesus Calming The Storm. (Matthew 8; Mark 4; Luke 8)

  • A real life example of how fear of any kind can prevent us from seeing who Jesus really is, Our Lord.

“We Don’t Love People By Killing God”

So what do you think? How would you answer this question: “If God is Love, then why didn’t He do something to help the people remember that He and Moses would be back from the mountain? They just missed being with God.”  

Today’s question is framed somewhat differently than its companion question from yesterday because it may be more relevant to where we are today. While we await the Parousia, the Second Coming of Christ, we are like the Israelites left behind when Moses went up onto Mt. Sinai to speak with the Lord. Like the Israelites, we may wonder, “Will He come back? Will He lead us into that place He says He has prepared for us?”

Perhaps this is part of what Jesus had in mind when He told his disciples:

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. John 14:18-20 (KJV)

“I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you.” Those are truly reassuring words!

What if this is what the Israelites really needed while Moses and the Lord were on Mount Sinai, but it couldn’t happen yet because God’s plan for the Incarnation had not yet been fulfilled? What if they didn’t have the kind of spiritual awareness yet to be able to cry out, “Lord, we need your comfort! Lord, we need your presence!”

Once again, perhaps this is part of what Jesus had in mind when He told his disciples this:

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:26-27 (KJV)

So what if we try to view the Old Testament, the Pre-Incarnation World, as being about God’s plan to become flesh and dwelling among us and then within us? What if all of God’s actions, covenants, and laws are viewed through the lens of “I must send My Son into the world to be born as Son of God and Son of Man and then I will send My Holy Spirit”? 

So here we are living in the New Testament, the Post-Incarnation World. How will we use this freedom we now have in Christ? Will we listen and follow God’s Holy Spirit within us? Or will we grow weary of waiting and instead adopt false ways of receiving God’s comfort and presence? 

For myself, I want to consider in greater depth what it means to live in this “Post-Incarnate World.” It seems to be a sharp contrast to what is called the “Post-Modern World” where truth and reality are individually shaped and based on things like personal history and culture.

Is this the way I live my spiritual life? If I like what my neighbor is doing because it seems to be working for them, and I think it will “work” for me, then I will “give it a try” and incorporate it into my truth and my reality? Isn’t this like constructing my own Golden Calf? Isn’t this somewhat like “We love our neighbor by killing God”?

Just a quick note of thanks to another WordPress blogger, Christian Integrity. Many of you may know that even though I create the daily comic strips in advance, I almost always do the written commentary part the morning of posting (but sometimes with a rough draft the night before). This morning as I was rethinking a comment that Christian Integrity made on yesterday’s post about how people during the Old Teatament days didn’t have the Holy Spirit inside them as we do today, I felt I had to do a complete rewrite to include that important point in today’s post. So I need to say “Thank you for that comment!” and also encourage everyone to visit Christian Integrity’s site for some well-written posts!

“We Don’t Love God By Killing People”

So what do you think? How would you answer this question: “If God is Love, how could He have all of those people in the Old Testament killed?” 

We associate “Love God, Kill Your Neighbor” with religious wars, fundamentalist thinking, and fanaticism. These are people who build bombs in their basement, shoot people in public, carry “God Hates You” signs…or maybe they just call you names, shut you out, bully you. This is difficult for me to understand. Most of us would agree we don’t love God by killing our neighbor, but what about God’s commandment here?

You shall annihilate them—the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites—just as the Lord your God has commanded, so that they may not teach you to do all the abhorrent things that they do for their gods, and you thus sin against the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 20:17-18 (NRSV)

Honestly this perplexes me at times, but I have been trying to view things differently. It’s sort of what artists (or want-to-be artists) do. I’m unable to just simply say, “We can’t understand God’s thoughts and ways.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) I have to have some idea to consider, something to try to sketch out, whether I find it valid or not in the end.

So what if we try to view everything in the Old Testament as being about God’s plan to become flesh and dwelling among us? What if all of God’s actions, covenants, and laws are viewed through the lens of “I must send My Son into the world to be born as Son of God and Son of Man”?

For the Incarnation to happen, God needed a holy nation and a holy family to bring a holy child into the world. This was likely the most important thing to God. In fact it was so important that when the Israelites had disappointed God so much, He told Moses that He would wipe them all off of the earth and start His plan again with just Moses to build a holy nation. (Deuteronomy 9:13-14) Without the Incarnation, all would be lost. God could not give up His plan.

God was very concerned, I believe, about what kind of people would be surrounding His Holy Child, His Son. This is why He needed a holy nation. He couldn’t tolerate any pagan beliefs because of what could possibly happen. Some pagan worship involved child sacrifice, burning children alive, so God commanded against this. (Leviticus 18:21) Even with all of God’s warnings, this still happened. (Honestly, if people are going to do that to little children, what else might they do?)

They did not destroy the peoples, as the Lord commanded them, but they mingled with the nations and learned to do as they did. They served their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons,and their daughters to the demons; they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood. Psalm 106:34-38 (NRSV)

So what if this was part of the reason, maybe not all of the reason, for what seems to be a contradiction? God had to protect His Son who was to be born a baby into a frightening and violent Roman-occupied country in a very violent world.

Yet I do wonder, “Well, God could just protect Jesus as a child. He could send an angel if someone was going to do any harm to Jesus.” But even though He could have, I have a hard time imagining that He would have. This, I believe, has something to do with how Jesus never took any miraculous actions to save Himself, even when people wanted to stone Him. (John 8:59 and 10:31)

So then I wonder, “Well, surely God could have outsmarted people and prevented any harm from occurring.” But really, haven’t we seen the evil that people can do? Even Jesus as an adult did not trust people. (John 2:24-25) And could we really worship God from our hearts if His plan of redemption rested on being able to outsmart us?

What if God wanted Jesus to be just like you and me? What if God wanted Jesus to walk by faith? That meant with no “safety net” of angels or superior outsmarting, just faith in His Father built upon knowing the holy scriptures, prayer, and meditation. These are the same tools that you and I have.

The people of the Old Testament didn’t understand everything perfectly because they were right in the middle of God working out His plan for the Incarnation. Maybe we as people of the New Testament don’t understand everything because we are right in the middle,of God working out His plan for the the Parousia, Christ’s Second Coming.

And so finally…

What if we can’t understand everything now because God’s love is bigger than our minds can comprehend? What if the “New And Improved For Everybody” must come to pass first?

Is there anything profound here? Doubtful. Does this explain everything? No. It may not explain anything at all or only scratch the surface, but it does help me to imagine and ask questions.

I’m learning, very slowly, that knowing the answers is not the same as knowing God. Perhaps that is the best response to the question that started all of this.

“Contradictions? (Just A Prequel)”

Today’s comic strip and tomorrow’s comic strip are really a closer look at loving God with all you have and loving your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-40) Jesus did both of these things at all times and without any contradiction.

I have heard people, even very devoted followers of Jesus, ask this paraphrased question: “If God is Love, how could He have all of those people in the Old Testament killed?” This ties into yesterday’s post that included the idea “Some teach that to love God, you must kill those who do not believe as you do. So you love God by killing your neighbor.” It is also a reason why some people say that they choose not to believe that Jesus is who He says He is.

I have also heard people, even very devoted followers of Jesus, ask this paraphrased question: “If God is Omnipresent with everybody and I am supposed to love my neighbor as myself, why can’t their non-Christian faith be pleasing to God and just as good as (if not better than) my faith…especially when they are living a good life?” This ties into yesterday’s post that included the idea “Some teach that to love your neighbor, you must treat all beliefs and faith traditions as valid. So you love your neighbor by killing God.” It is also a reason why some people say that they choose not to believe that Jesus is who He says He is.

So the next two posts will hopefully explore these in greater detail. Today is just a “prequel,” you might say. These two graphics from old paintings are what I’ll be using, so I thought it might be good to share them with you as well a little early. (Plus I need a little more time to think about all of this!) Remember that these graphics are just a journey. (I honestly do not have everything planned out ahead of time!) My answers may not be the same as yours, and they may change over time. You don’t have to agree with me or believe as I do, but at least we are questioning and thinking and learning!

Thanks everyone!



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