greybeta: (Tylor - Tylor Kanchou)
In the 2000 years since Jesus Christ was born, many heresies have sprung up regarding the “one true faith.” It didn’t take long for people to misuse and misunderstand the message of the Messiah. Isn’t that why there are so many denominations these days?

The most common answer is to use 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 to answer that question. “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same spirit. There are different kinds of service but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.”

These days, though, it seems that there is a vast sea of denominations. Add in the non-denominational churches and you’ve got a veritable chaos of Christianity. At least it makes me confused.

To paraphrase George Orwell, “All Christians are equal, but some Christians are more equal than others.” What I’m trying to say here is that though Christians start off saying all denominations are equal, but they will invariably tell you why their denomination (or lack of denomination) is best. How can one denomination be better than the others if they are all “equal”?

I guess the most illogical thing about Christianity is this: If I were to ask ten Christians of different denominations what the basic tenets of Christianity are, I would get ten different answers (especially if you include the “universal” Catholic faith).

Why should I believe anyone over anybody else?
greybeta: (D2 - Silver and Gold)
So, Friday afternoon, I was having one of those religious discussions over some smoothies Friday afternoon with a good friend of mine. She tried to convince me the error of my heresies. She spoke true from her heart, and yet her words failed to convince me.

They say that those who do not have faith cannot understand.

But I do understand. That's because the reason I believe God and the reason that I am a heretic are one and the same: My faith is based on the actions of people, both good and evil.

The reason I am a heretic is because I do not base my belief on the Bible. Too often, people use circular logic when it comes to their faith.

Why do you believe Jesus came to save us? Because the Bible told me so.

Why do you believe the Bible is God's Word? Because Jesus told me so.

I can't really argue against that type of reasoning. So all I can do is tell you some thoughts that I've never been able to wrap my mind around.

Sure, I'll concede to you that the Bible is a revealed text. But I believe the true power of daily Bible reading isn't in studying God's Word. Let me suggest to you that the power of daily Bible reading is creating a daily routine in your life, and most people operate better on a daily routine. It's even better when you memorize Scripture because those kinds of skills are often forgotten in this day of age (but who needs to remember how to spell when you have spellcheck?).

Sure, I'll concede to you that prayer is powerful. But I beleve the true power of prayer isn't in making of litany of requests. Let me suggest to you that the power of prayer is keeping people and events close to your heart, and most people operate better if they have a sense of calm and relief. It's even better when you write your prayer requests because you can see God working through your life when your requests are answered (so if they are not answered, the prayer was either not in God's will or God answered in a way that was different from what you were expecting).

Sure, I'll concede to you that fellowship is fun. But I believe the true power of fellowship isn't in making friends. Let me suggest to you that the power of fellowship is discovering people who hold ideals and beliefs similar to yours, as most birds of a feather flock together. It's even better when you open to each other because then you are displaying the true bond of fellowship (and growing not only in friendship but also spiritually as well).

Sure, I'll concede to you that witnessing brings many lost souls over to the good Lord. But I believe the true power of witnessing isn't in reclaiming lost souls. Let me suggest to you that the power of witnessing is spreading something that you have become enamored with, just like any parent wants to talk the world about their baby. It's even better when you have someone who become a disciple themselves because then you are truly multiplying yourself as Christ commanded (for you are like a city on a hill that cannot be hidden).

After saying these things, my good friend calmly stated that I was going to hell.

I wish she could tell me something that I don't already know.

But that's the funny things about heretics: they don't believe they are going to hell.
greybeta: (Tylor - Tylor with an Eye)
Jesus was a heretic. Think about it: Jesus came to replace the old covenant. The keepers of the old covenant, who did not want to change, obviously had to consider Jesus a heretic if they were to preserve their current position. They would have never guessed Jesus came to split the Veil that separated man from God.

In the anime Irresponsible Captain Tylor, the title character is a subject of great debate. People argue whether Justi Ueki Tylor ("Just Awake Tylor"), age twenty, was a complete fool or a complete genius. One thing you couldn't doubt about him was that he had the devil's luck when it came to his own survival. He joined the United Planets Space Force because it would provide free food and shelter plus it would allow him to see space (the series is set in the year 6998). He became captain, i.e. Tylor Kanchou, by accidentally saving a retired admiral. He is a complete idiot when it comes to realizing the ship wants to mutiny against his irresponsibility, as he always seems to be sleeping on the job.

And yet Tylor defeats an entire enemy fleet with his one destroyer. He is able to make friends with the opposing empress. He brings his destroyer out from demotion in the boonies to the front line battle. When he is made Fleet Admiral to take charge of the fleet in the last desperation attack, he figures out a way to to end the war without firing a single shot. It is in that last moment that his counterpart, Ru Baraba Dom of the Raalgon Empire, figures out who Tylor is.

Someone whose genius no capacity could contain.

Tylor has a strange smile, that smile of a predator who knows he has already caught his prey. Commander Yuriko Star, the love interest of Tylor, absolutely despises his irresponsible nature because she is a Type A, obsessive-compulsive by the book soldier. But she can't help but remember that for all of his erratic ways, Tylor always acted polite. "Could you..." and "Thank you" were always part of Tylor's vocabulary. He was honest, ogling at her pretty legs or saying how a strong person was a strong person, whether they were your friend or your enemy. And he had the uncanny ability of discernment, seeing the greatest strengths and weaknesses of people. However, Commander Star slapped him when he told her what she would be best suited to do.

Raising Tylor's kids.

The military brass in the UPSF despised Tylor. They considered him to be "the enemy within". The destroyer they assigned him to, the Soyokaze (Gentle Breeze), was known for mutinies. Most captains lasted three days, and half of those lost their life due to some sort of "mysterious incident". The Soyokaze contained all of the misfits and rebellious soldiers in the UPSF. Just put them together and let them fight amongst themselves. But the real guy in charge, Admiral Mifune, recognized who Tylor just might be. He explains in the last episode who Tylor is by telling a story about monkey tribes.

Do you know about monkey tribes? Monkey tribes are very organized, with a leader at the top. Now, once every few years without fail, a renegade monkey leaves his tribe and tries to join another one. The members of the new tribe greet the renegade monkey by beating it to a bloody pulp. And yet those renegade monkeys, those heretic monkeys if you will, are a providence from nature. Why? Because they keep the bloodlines from becoming too thick, from too much inbreeding within the tribe. So, you could say that those heretics are essential for survival. Heretics are essential for survival.

Heretics like the one in my icon.

Or me.
greybeta: (Tylor Kanchou)
Any time you explain your true beliefs, expect to lose a few friends.

If you were to compose a song for the last days of the Son of Man on the Earth, what would you name that song?

I would name all the jeering at the end of Christ’s life the “Crucifixion Chorus”.

If you are a Christian, you must believe that Christ rose three days after dying on the cross. Do you believe that?

I believe Christ rose from the dead three days after he died.

If you believe in Christ’s resurrection, then that doesn’t that mean you hold a belief against the logical laws of cold science?

I have faith.

If you have faith, then how do you explain all the evil in this world.

I don’t know.

If you say “I don’t know”, aren’t you just copping out?

I believe that faith is something you have or you don’t.

If you had to name someone who believed in Christ, but he doubted his salvation every waking day, what would you call him?

I would call that person a heretic believer.

If you were to compose a song for the last days of the Son of Man on the Earth, what would you name that song?

I would compose a paradoxical song called the “The Resurrection Requiem” because resurrection is about life conquering death, and yet a requiem is a death song.
greybeta: (Tylor Kanchou)
The Disciple's Cross
In the MasterLife I Bible Study, you learn the basics of being a disciple of Christ. A disciple of Christ is someone who makes Jesus the Lord of his or her life. A verse that helps me remember this is Luke 9:23 “If anyone would come after me, he must first deny himself and take his cross daily and follow me.” So the first principle is to DENY yourself. This means denying control of yourself and giving that up to God. The second principle is to take up your CROSS. This means that you choose to carry a heavy burden as the price for following Christ. The third principle is to FOLLOW. It is not enough to give up your pride and endure great pain, you must also be willing to follow our one and true Savior.

Spend Time with the Master
Imagine a circle for me. This circle represents our lives. It is empty inside. How do we fill that emptiness? With CHRIST, who redeemed us with His Blood. A verse that helps me remember this is John 15:5 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I remain in you, you will bear much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing.” So as long as we remain in Christ, we can do great things and bear much fruit. Apart from Christ, we are powerless. By Spending Time with the Master, we receive the direction needed in our lives.

Live in the Word
Now imagine a long triangular wedge coming down from the bottom of the circle, with WORD written on it. A verse that helps me understand the importance of Living in God’s Word is John 8:31-32 “If you hold to my teachings, then you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Knowing God’s Word and having it in our hearts frees us from the trappings of the world. This requires us to read it every day and hold it near and dear to our hearts.

Pray in Faith
Now imagine a long triangular wedge extending upward from the top of the circle. On it is written PRAY. A verse that helps me understand the importance of Praying in Faith is John 15:7 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given unto you.” Anything we pray in God’s will be granted to us, especially through consistent practice.

The vertical relationship
These two triangular wedges plus the center circle represent our vertical relationship with Christ, where we focus on heavenly matters.

Fellowship with Believers
Now imagine a short triangular wedge going to the right from the right of the circle with the word FELLOWSHIP written on it. A verse that helps me understand the nature of Fellowshipping with Believers is John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, you must love one another. By this all men will know that you bear much fruit.” Kind believers must love kind believers, or there won’t be any kind believers at all. Going to church is not enough to satisfy this requirement of fellowship. You must choose to become part of the church, part of the Bride of Christ, in order to receive the full benefits of being a disciple of Christ.

Witness to the World
Now imagine a short triangular wedge going to the left from the left of the circle with the word WITNESS written on it. A verse that helps me understand the significance of Witnessing to the World is John 15:8 “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” The fruit we bear in others is proof of our faith. Faith is dead if you cannot reveal Christ to nonbelievers. This does not mean that you convert everyone you meet, but that as a disciple of Christ you will naturally show Christ’s love to everyone you encounter.

The horizontal relationship
These two triangular wedges plus the center circle represent our horizontal relationship with Christ, where we focus on earthly matters.

Ministries associated with each focus
Each focus has a ministry associated with it, which is demonstrated by a further smaller triangle wedge at each point. The ministry of teaching/preaching goes with the WORD, which is disseminating the word. The ministry of worship/intercession goes with PRAY, which is celebrating who God is and acknowledging that we need His help. The ministry of nurture goes with FELLOWSHIP, which is being kind and caring for your fellow disciples. The ministry of evangelism goes with WITNESS, which is spreading Christ’s name and love throughout all of the nations of this world.

Minister to Others
A special ministry ties together FELLOWSHIP and WITNESS. Ministering to Others can also be called the ministry of service. A verse that helps me remember this is John 15:13 “Greater love no man has than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” We are disciples by showing love to our friends, believers and nonbelievers alike. We talk with them, we console them, we hang out with them, we serve them, etc. And when it comes down to it, a disciple of Christ never hesitates in going the extra ten miles to help out a friend. This could mean doing as something simple as giving directions to a random stranger. This could mean something as simple as buying a five dollar pickle jar for a four month old pregnant college girl you’ve never met before. This could mean something as simple as spending twenty dollars on a twenty-minute phone call to cheer up a lonely friend in Spain. It could also mean giving tough love to someone to make them understand the error of their ways. It could also mean challenging others to realize their true potential. It could also mean playing the part of a fool so that others may become wise.

Painting the picture for reference
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Do you understand?
Let’s make sure you fully understand what I am getting at. In order for you to be a disciple of Christ, you have to lose yourself. Then you have to be willing to be incessantly insulted for following Jesus. You stay indoctrinated by reading the Bible everyday. You answer all your doubts, big and small, by handing them off to some external force. You have close yet equal relationships with all believers, except for that one special believer who is more equal than the others because he or she is your spouse (or you hope that he or she will be one day). You share the good news with the rest of the world, even to the most remote areas of the world with seemingly impossible language and cultural barriers. Finally, you would not hesitate to lay your life down as a martyr for this divinely inspired mission.

D2's heresy
As an ideology, Christianity may be The Greatest Brainwashing Conspiracy in the annals of recorded history.
greybeta: (Angemon)
I am a heretic (who is monkeying around with my faith)

Every so often in your life, you will encounter a bright person. When I say someone is bright, I mean two things. First, they are very smart. Second, they are brilliantly sharp. Now at any given high school, maybe two or three people have attained their maximum brightness. Most of us have to wait until college before finding our true spark. When that happens, that light bulb inside our head will shine brightly for everyone to see.

(I get too many of my ideas from cartoons.)

Sometimes, these bright people shine so intensely that they are like angels to the people they know. You think it would be good to be an angel, except that if you’ve ever watched the movie Dogma you would understand the drawbacks of being an angel. They are closer to God than humans are, but angels cannot have romantic relationships. You might say that is the price of being able to solely focus on God and heavenly matters.

It is sort of scary when an angel does come into your life. Think about Isaiah when the angel of Lord appeared before him. Isaiah immediately knew that he was not worthy. And, since it’s Christmas season, let’s think about Gabriel appearing before Joseph and warning him to take his family to Egypt. This is why I hate the Bible. It focuses on the major story too much, leaving the little details out. See, after hundred upon hundreds years of translation, I think scholars learned just to get to the gist of the story to avoid boring people with a long winded setup. The Bible does not mention a very simple fact that we all know to be true: Joseph was p*ssing in his pants when Gabriel appeared before him.

(I am serious.)

When an angel appears in your life, it is often to admonish you or warn you about something. I treat others as my properties, as my playthings (hrmmmm, for some reading I have this image of a certain red headed Lyssa thinking I would be a devious dom in an S&M relationship) (I wonder how many of my fine Christian friends just had to type S&M in Wikipedia to understand what I just talked about) (You know, the reason why I would make a great history teacher is because I love to digress). I have the sin of pride, the sin of hubris. I trust my own abilities far too often. I allow myself to feel haughty seeing the weaknesses of others thanks to my spiritual gift of discernment. I do not sincerely apologize for my actions, I just mouth the words “sorry”. I do not have the sensitivity to regret what I say, only enough sensitivity to ensure my place in society.

The spiritual gift of discernment is both a blessing and a curse upon the one God bestows this powerful ability. Discernment allows its user to peer into the souls of others. Anyone with a weaker personality becomes like an open book because the discerning user can glean a lot of information from what they say or do. Stronger personalities are more difficult to crack, but eventually a discerning user can read them through the user’s own actions and words towards the stronger personality. The most difficult people to read, then, are quiet people because they have very little to cue in on.

(I would make a great poker player if I did not love the words “all-in”.)

Think about a person with perfect pitch. They have the ability to identify a note by name without the benefit of a reference note, or to be able to produce a note (as in singing) that is the correct pitch without reference (thank you Wikipedia). It is a curse for them to listen to music being played by amateurs, for every mistake is like a cat scratching her nails across a chalkboard…times ten. People with perfect pitch are often perfectionists when it comes to music. They will work hard to get a song right because they cannot stand the pain of the wrong notes.

When it comes to people, I have perfect pitch. Huh? I mean that I can see those who are doing what they should be doing and I can see those who are not. How do I know this? God granted me the spiritual gift of discernment. It is as if I am Mr. Holland, and everyone I know is part of my opus. It angers me to see people waste their potential. It saddens me to see people who have given up on their potential. It soothes me to see someone close to actualizing his or her potential. It cheers me up when someone realizes his or her personal legend.

A good friend of mine once accused me of being very deceitful. He knows that I mislead others so they will work for my profit. I stand accused correctly. I have worked on my ability to tell others what they want to hear so much it has become second nature to me. I can hide the fact that I like someone because they would never know unless I told them directly. I lie so well I’ve become too good at hiding my emotions and thoughts. I guard my heart and mind tighter than the security at the State of the Union Address.

(If I were a hedgehog, my spikes would be the longest and most painful ones of my community.)

This same friend of mine also accused me of being very manipulative. He knows that I often pretend to play the fool so I do not have to do much work. I am a very lazy, spoiled brat. I play people like a master pianist. I claim that I am terrible at the expressive side of piano. I am just being self-deprecating, as I play the piano fairly well…it’s just that I am too lazy to practice enough to bring out the true emotion of the song. More to the point, I play for myself. I selfishly only play the songs that I do like. In the same way, I choose to be straightforwardly insulting to people because the people who can withstand my brutal honesty are the people who I can help and/or understand. The people who are honestly insulted by my piercing jests are honestly not worth my time.

Now let’s consider sheet music. We all know that masterpieces have an exact arrangement that is required to be repeated over and over by all aspiring pianists. Fur Elise will always be played the same way. As well it should, for it is the quintessential piano song—a fast yet slow, loud yet soft, long yet short song that requires a mastery of many techniques. My ultimate goal in piano playing is not only to memorize Fur Elise, but also play it to perfection. It will be a lifetime pursuit.

Other songs can be more personalized, however. There are dozens of renditions of Christmas songs. A lot of sheet music only has the notes for the right hand, i.e. the melody. It is up to the player to come up with the harmony. I know a certain Italian Stallion who is a master at improv playing and his ability to come up with the harmony on his own astounds me. He told me that the sheet music is only a guide, but it is up to the player to come up with the right notes.

I personalize people with nicknames because they are part of the song I am playing. My nicknames are pregnant with meaning. They describe a certain characteristic of someone or where they are from or what they are to do with their lives. The Thief steals from others to live. Kimono-chan refers to a girl who has fallen in love with Japan and wearing kimonos. Monsieur Maine refers to a French speaking Maine man who defines his state.

I am frustrated by the people who fail to see who they are. Do not be afraid of who you are. If you are a flaming gay liberal, come out of the closet and admit it. I won’t like your politics, but I will respect you as a person. If anthropology is what gets you up in the morning, go be an anthropologist. It really is that simple to find your happiness. If you are to be an anime voice actor, go to broadcasting school already. Trust me, you will find your destiny there.

But my biggest pet peeve involves those who refuse to be tagged by me. Or, to put it more bluntly, those who think I am wrong when I tag them with an insulting nickname. If you are an environmental policy major, you are a treehugger. If you study geology, you are a rock lover. If you wear glasses and your name is Kent, you are Superman. Accept who you are because otherwise you are denying your true self.

(I know that little.)

Unlike perfect pitch, discernment cannot be used on yourself. It is impossible to tell who you are by what you know about yourself because you are too biased. It is in your best interests to think that you are the most awesomest person in the world. Why would you think otherwise? It would be stupid for you not to believe you are great. And so it is that you must rely on others to be your mirrors, to reveal who you are. And some mirrors show yourself more of you than others.

I have seen my true self recently. I speak humbly, but I am an arrogant bastard. I get bored with life. I am antisocial. I do not treat others with respect because I think I am better than them. These things run contrary to what a Christian disciple should be. And it’s so much easier just to say screw it all, I’d rather be a heretic. Cause at least when I am a heretic I can be myself. People think I pay too much attention to the little things in life. No, I don’t think so. The little things in life matter!

So a friend of mine said I had to answer one question whether I am a heretic or not. Do I believe that the Bible is God’s Word and how do I resolve that question with regards to whether or not Jesus is the only way? You know, I often don’t reveal my true thoughts. But I’ll just be straightforward to save time.

I am a heretic.

The Bible has been translated incorrectly dozens of time. We lose things in translation. The Bible is God’s Word, sure, if you believe that. But do I believe that the Bible is God’s Word. As much as the Dao De Jing is God’s Word or the Quran is God’s Word or the Bhagavadgita is God’s Word. If I grew up in a different culture then would I not take my culture’s “Bible” as my God’s Word?

Jesus is the only way? Sorry I only have three words for that. THAT’S SOME BUUUUUUULLLLLLLLLLLL!!! You know why I say this? Because while I do sense something different within true disciples of Christ, I sense that same special difference in true disciples of Allah, true disciples of Buddha, true disciples of Satan, etc. I kid you not. I feel the same goodness in the president of the Muslim Student Association as I do the intern at the Baptist Student Union. They’re both fair and fallible people; moreover, their faith is genuine.

(And my power of discernment is pretty good.)

But I am equally mad at the atheists who claim there exists no God. These are the people who would ascribe their life to random chance. Was it random chance that we have an atmosphere? Was it random chance that the sun is just far enough away to sustain us? Was it random chance that our bodies are the most amazing pieces of machinery ever? No, it’s bullsh*t if you don’t admit that there is some sort of Divine Force. Cause if there ain’t, I’m coming to your house and shooting you.

(Judge, I swear, it's not my fault because I did it due to "random chance.")

Can you tell me something I already don’t know? I do not think so. One of the downsides of having an eidetic memory is that you remember too much. I read something and then I can’t forget it. People annoy me because they're always telling me what I already know! But you know what the frightening thing is? I can tell whether or not a person truly believes what they’re saying. Too many people at church regurgitate the textbook "Sunday School answer" instead of thinking for themselves.

(Of course, I’m guilty of just quoting other people to hide my true opinions.)

One thing you will learn by studying history is that true believers are the most dangerous people on the Earth. Stalin was never as dangerous as Mao Zedong because Stalin never truly believed Marx. Stalin simply co-opted Marx’s ideals for his own benefit. Mao Zedong really did believe that the proletariat would rise up in the world and overthrow their capitalist masters. The book that best describes several different views on the allure of idealism is “The God That Failed Us”. If you read it, you will see how rational people were duped into believing Communism. But if you replaced Communism with Christianity, you would understand why so many people fall away from the conservative, fundamental Christianity in our modern times.

People with a strong faith should major in business or science. Business just deals with money so there is little conflict with their faith. It’s all about dealing with people and selling yourself, which isn’t too hard if you have the right personality. Christian scientists and engineers resolve the difficulty between science and religion by seeing that they study God’s handiwork through mathematics and other scientific descriptors. Heck, you could even say evolution is God’s way of shaping our world.

You know what a good Christian should avoid studying? Liberal arts. Liberal arts is rife with professors who will challenge your thinking and your faith. The typical sheltered Christian cannot withstand these new challenges without resorting to “God said so” or “I believe in the infallibility of the Bible” arguments. Well, sh*t, I could just say “Buddha said so” or “I believe in the infallibility of my @$$” and it would be the same argument. Only someone who grew up in a dualistic background or one where their parents questioned them constantly would actually grow stronger if challenged in their faith.

I will leave you with one of my signature bad poems...

The Brightest Angel
The good Lord created beings of light
Before He created mankind.
Angels sang gloriously to the King of Might,
With their clear and pure mind.
Yet trouble stirred in Heaven,
As one angel thought he shined brighter
Than the Omniscient, Omnipotent Judge of Sin.
Ironically, God named him Lucifer.

July 2009

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