Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Integrity




integrity |inˈtegritē|
noun
1 the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness: he is trustworthy and known to be a man of integrity.


Did you know that map makers often include phantom streets to thwart copyright infringement? No big deal, even clever, right? 

Pretty big deal to me because it tells me two important things: First, truth has become a vague concept that is nearly irrelevant now. Second, lying is the preferred way to overcome cheating. Apparently two wrongs make it right is the new acceptable norm and thus we’ve reached a new low.

We didn’t arrive at this new level of depravity quickly, however. It’s been a long slow process actually. One slip and then another, the bar taken down notch by notch until we have now come close to rock bottom. 

What does the world look like at rock bottom?

Using Biblical example I could reference Sodom and Gomorrah. But using a more modern representation of the world gone sour I’d like to recount the fictional story of Pottersville, the miserable alternate possible result of George Bailey having never existed in It’s a Wonderful Life. Who doesn’t know what the good town of Bedford Falls looked like as Pottersville, a sleazy collection of strip clubs, pawn shops, violence, thieves and liars. As bad as that description is, I can imagine a more progressive version of Pottersville might include useless brain dead crack-heads hanging out on corners focused on nothing but how they will get their next hit, graffiti on every square inch of crumbling buildings, every conceivable form of reprobated human activity, salacious sexuality exposed and proudly paraded for anyone to see in all matter of media. Fear, addiction and sickness, in mind, body and spirit would rule. Anything would be allowed so long as it did not threaten to pull someone out of the cycle of bondage to self destruction. The only rule would be that there would be no rules regarding behavior so long as it felt good.

In modern Pottersville I would expect that any attempt to maintain a moral code would be met with loud opposition and eventually those still clinging to the concept of baseline morality being in the best interest of civilization would be ostracized and vilified.  They would be shouted down until they could no longer be heard. The 21st Century Pottersville would officially define and support good as evil and evil as good, passing laws to support this position. Lying would be so rampant it would be expected. Everything would be upside down and backwards compared to Bedford Falls.

Heroes in Pottersville 2012 would be the old villains of Bedford Falls. Blood sucking vampires, witches and warlocks would be the iconic champions of the new normal, teachers of the new morality. Celebrating evil would be the common themes in children’s cartoons, TV sit-coms, movies and music. Superficiality in everything would reflect the underpinning of lies and lying and the adoration of good image, regardless how unreal, would be more acceptable than what is simply true.

All references to the old standards of human decency, work ethic, health and well-being, in mind/body/soul–integrity in general–would be tossed to the trash heap and left to be devoured by rats in the dank alleys. The children of Pottersville, those who manage to survive to adulthood, would have no recollection of the old standards and therefore would become the perpetuators of the norm until it all finally implodes, to everyone’s utter shock.

In the fictional story it was clear to anyone that Pottersville was not a good place and destined to a bad ending. It was meant to be representative of how important integrity is and how things go to hell in a hand-basket when integrity is not present. 

It was just a story, though, not a real true place. 

But life often imitates art because deep in the recesses of human imagination there is a place where collective memory knows the difference between right and wrong, between that which feeds, grows, and builds up or destroys, and that which supports continuum instead of annihilation. In this dim realm of the subconscious we recall the real places in history that did choose the low road and perished for it. In this misty memory is where we are given the freewill opportunity to choose between what simply feels good in the moment only to kill soon after, or promises to build up in the course of existence and end well into eternity.

When presented with the stark comparison, it is hard to imagine who would choose to live in Pottersville instead of Bedford Falls. Who would choose slavery to freedom, sickness and death over health and life? Who would choose lies over truth? 

The author of lies, who hates integrity and will lie to, cheat and seduce as many as possible away from it. That’s who. 

For Christ,
Meema 

(Joshua 24:15) And if it seem evil unto you to serve Jehovah, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Conundrums


(Matthew 24:12) And because iniquity shall be multiplied, the love of the many shall wax cold.  (24:13) But he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.  (24:14) And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all the nations; and then shall the end come. 




I think a page has turned and we are writing the last chapter of a book that has been in progress for several thousand years. I’ve struggled with this concept, that we truly are in the last days. And this has little, if anything, to do with the dire predictions of those who adhere to the Mayan calendar. This is more about man’s absurd arrogance and delusions of invincibility. 

It seems to me that a black fog of ignorance, like a virus has spread over the entire world. It is global and pandemic. Over the past few months I’ve watched in wonder as things that do not make sense have completely been allowed to take over. 

For example, no one seems to care that Japan is dying because the tsunami that devastated the Fukushima nuclear power plant on March 11, 2011 is old news. We only pay attention to what is being reported in the here and now because not only do we have very short attention spans we have been carefully groomed to believe what we are presented with; just like in a movie, we can only digest things in two hour increments. Deadly radiation spewing out into the air and water, well, what is that to us anyway? Don’t pay attention to that because it might interrupt commerce. So people are dying, fish, beef and grains are poisonous. Commerce must continue! Ignore it, it will go away! The advisability of building nuclear power plants on an active volcanic island should not be challenged! Science rules!

In fact, as I ponder all the crazy things no one is paying attention to, my mind is a swirl of conundrums that simply cannot be easily explained, if at all. Here are some, in no particular order:

• Your government cares about your health and well being
• Scientists are smart and always working to better the world
• It is way smarter to trust science fiction than to believe in God
• You can trust politicians because they always tell the truth
• You can trust religious leaders because they always tell the truth
• When lies are revealed to be lies, you can and should trust the new lies that replace them
• Pay attention to movie stars because they are glamorous so they know everything
• Tolerance is good and any other opinion will not be tolerated
• Diversity means all things different must be tolerated unless it isn't on the list of things considered Diverse
• Drug companies just want people well and living longer 
• Modern technology can only and always will be used for good and never used for evil

People, in general, prefer to believe what sounds good and right instead of engaging their own brains to question what simply doesn’t add up. 

The day of correction is coming though. This you can trust.

For Christ,
Meema

Monday, November 5, 2012

Chasing Truth Part Two - False Humility


Matthew 7:16 "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?"


Truth is the golden nugget buried under lies and half-truths that are piled up and crisscrossed over and under each other like an old ugly ball of yarn scraps. Over time, as the older threads begin to rot and disintegrate, new lies are tied onto the tail ends and then added to the depth of deception that keeps the golden truth from shining out. But just because the truth is concealed doesn’t stop it from being. It’s there even if you can’t see it. Truth is enduringly real; lies are counterfeit and thus inherently temporary. Truth is the never changing solid; lies are the shape-shifting transparent shadows.  

In this world, and until God says, “Enough!” and Jesus returns to wrap it up, we have no choice but to live in a realm where there is antithesis to everything. Where there is light, there is dark, where there is good there is evil, where there is real, there is also imitation. 

How does one determine what is real and what is fake? If we lean on Matthew 7:16 as our go-by, we are told that we should be able to look to the fruits. Certainly this is solid advise and can be applied to more than just spiritual topics. Who can argue that politics and apostate religion aren’t intrinsically lie-based? Regardless of beautiful, inspiring rhetoric, there always comes a day when lies and promises spoken so eloquently by politicians and preachers can be measured by their fruit/results/outcome/consequences. The truth finally comes to light eventually.

That’s not the problem.

What if for lack of interest in having discernment, lack of even caring what good fruit is and isn’t, we embrace the beautiful lies at face value, and are then blocked from and unable to test whether or not fruit is real or just good-looking reproduction?  

I fear the stumbling block in this age is not so much that we are gullible and easily lead astray by wolves in sheep’s clothing, which has ever been so, but that we have been carefully reprogrammed to abandon discernment and therefore are blinded to the real deal. When given the choice, we eagerly go for the “perfect” fruit, which appeals to our shallow self-righteous “enlightened” propensity to align with what looks right, feels good and faultless by today’s standards. Unfortunately, today’s standards have nothing in semblance to God’s standards and there are many who are tightly, hopelessly entangled in the deceptions and yet haven’t a clue of their dire circumstances.

Humility, for example, has been drastically redefined so that the original intent of this Godly attribute of character is deeply hidden from view. It is a simple truth obfuscated by perfect-looking lies. Nowadays one merely has to appear appropriately self-effacing and pious to be deemed humble, which is by definition, false humility. The real fruit of genuine humility seems to have been kicked aside and isn’t on anyone’s radar anymore. Another way to put it: no one wants to know the truth anymore about anything. Modern society prefers glittery illusion. We want to be entertained, not educated. Now we look no farther or deeper than the appearance of humility therefore merely how someone appears to be is justified as all the fruit we require. And we happily settle for this imitation; delighted and satisfied with our delusions. 

Meanwhile the wolves and psychopaths gleefully prosper from our ignorance.

We do not consider and indeed reject how easy it is to pretend, to play-act, feigning self-denial and picture perfect righteousness, all the while and underneath, pushing a dark agenda that is self-based, self-promoting and self-righteous. I fear this is way worse than a ravening wolf in a sheepskin leading others away from the truth. At some point, since the sheep not only aren’t looking for anything more than what they see on the surface, they are more than just sheered, they are more quickly, easily brought to slaughter. 

We are at a critical stage now, where even when the sheep are presented with the truth and the rotten or lack of fruit revealed, another diabolical twist in the lie of false humility kicks in to seal their fate. They succumb to the pious lie that sheep, i.e. Christians, must not stand up for truth because it isn’t...well...you know...it isn’t humble. 

Charles Spurgeon said: “Very likely the most humble man in the world won’t bend to anybody. John Knox was a truly humble man, yet if you had seen him march before Queen Mary with the Bible in his hand, to reprove her, you would have rashly said, “What a proud man!” Cringing men that bow before everybody, are truly proud men; but humble men are those who think of themselves so little, they do not think it worth while to stoop to serve themselves. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were humble men, for they did not think their lives were worth enough to save them by a sin. Daniel was a humble man; he did not think his place, his station, his whole self, worth enough to save them by leaving off prayer. Humility is a thing which must be genuine; the imitation of it is the nearest thing in the world to pride.” 

And CS Lewis put it like this: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less”.
If we could stop obsessing over image and turn our focus 180˚ on God’s kingdom and glory, we might be able to regain our discernment and perhaps salvage more remnant. If not, then we pray the days will be shortened less everyone be destroyed.

Philippians 2:3-5 "(3) Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; (4) do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (5) Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,"

 1 Timothy 6:3 "If any man teacheth a different doctrine, and consenteth not to sound words, [even] the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;  (6:4) he is puffed up, knowing nothing, but doting about questionings and disputes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,  (6:5) wranglings of men corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth, supposing that godliness is a way of gain."

For Christ,
Meema