Sunday, December 8, 2019

Fools of Corinth

One fool loves to sing
Inspired by lofty dreams
Of encouraging others
In hymns of praise and adoration
Communicating the richness of praxis
Serving others on the way
To where the good shepherd leads
Where they can taste and see
And touch and smell
And hear that the Lord is good
Another fool marks his territory
And declares war
Communicating audibly only with daggers
Blasting through his nostrils
Lifting one leg
That stumpy stand
Is now soaked

Cold and damp blankets would feel better
Than offering the sound of a bleating lamb
As we light our lamps
Complacency in gestures
Of banality and mediocrity
Passive aggressive positioning
Encourages hatred
Peers then point out the obvious
Hate is a very strong word
And complacency is another unjust accusation
Hell no
That's a soft description of reality
What are we to do with all these
Clouds and wind without rain

In a fool's ears
Do not speak
For he will despise the insight of your words
All these gods around the house of the Lord
And yet no word from Him
No divine counsel
At best childish tropes and platitudes
At worst tone deaf service
And puritanical opinion pieces
If this is what heaven is like
I'll take hell
As smelter for silver
And kiln for gold
So is a man according to his praise
Surely you do not know the look of your flock
And so you don't put your mind on the herds
Better is open reproof than hidden love
You sure seem to like dishing it out

Can you receive it
I have seen good people
Entering the doors
Lighting their candles
Leaving before the sheep are slaughtered
I don't blame them for disliking torturous tones
The clanging of brass
The tinkling cymbal
The confusion of tongues
Lifeless instruments
Offering indistinct notes
What we need are two or three witnesses
To interpret
To facilitate prayer not only with their spirit
But with their minds also

To sing praise not only with their spirit
But with their minds also
Otherwise, when thankfulness is truly offered
How might an outsider say Amen
Thankfulness may be given well enough
But the one entering the doors
Is not being edified
It's better that literally everyone just shuts up
It's better to dwell in the corner of a roof
Than with a quarrelsome wife in a spacious house
Like one binding a stone in a sling
So is one who gives a fool honor
Before destruction a man's heart is haughty
But humility comes before honor
The reward for humility and fear of the Lord
Is riches and honor and life
Better is a poor and wise youth
Than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice

Saturday, December 7, 2019

The Capital of Futurism

G.K. Chesterton once said that too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists. That, of course, was a witty way of pointing out the real problem of economics and free markets in practice: Capitalism is easily tempted to conspire with civil governments to foster monopolies over an entire industry with only a few capitalists largely in control, under the auspices of an oligarchy, instead of allowing the market to actually be more free through organic entrepreneurial enterprise. I want to take this idea and spin it a little bit, and replace free market capitalism with eschatological futurism. 

With regard to the well-known problems of eschatology in practice and the liberty to look at historical texts to interpret them honestly without being demonized, I wish the same could be said for futurism, but unfortunately there are not too few futurists; there are far too many--far too many who believe in whatever they're told about it, and far too few who are willing to research and think for themselves. I consider it to be a truism that over the last one hundred years of academia there has been a monopoly over the market of eschatological dogmas. In the Church, I have found there to be a surprising amount of liberty with regard to the promoting the reliability of the New Testament historical witness; but in the academies around the world, the environment is very different. It doesn't matter which "New Testament" author is researched, used, or cited. Among the many doctrines propounded, almost all academicians unswervingly swear allegiance to the same dogmas: that the end of the ages did not come in the first century, and the parousia was delayed (and must still be delayed); therefore all "data" collected from new testament witnesses and even non-canonical literature of that general era must be jammed through a peer-reviewed process that, in the very least, attempts to cohere with those dogmas. 

However, just a cursory glance through the new testament literature should provide a sense of eschatological coherence. I personally think that the same can be said with some popular non-canonical literature surrounding the Bible (like the Didache, Epistle of Barnabas, 1 Clement, etc.) but if we don't see it clearly in the New Testament we won't be able to apply it to our critical thinking outside the Bible either. We will just allow our minds to be programmed by the guild and the sources they insist we must believe in order to be saved by their dogmas.

All of this made me realize that I have something to share with the public that I have not yet shared. 

Below is a screenshot of one page from an academic paper I wrote earlier this year in response to a major publication by Cambridge University Press. Currently my paper is under review, so I'm not going to say anything more about that. Nevertheless, today I had a strong urge to share footnote #74 of that document, because, if read carefully, and taken seriously as reliable history, one can only presume that these authors were describing the same first century events, and those events actually occurred, or they were all delayed into the distant future, even beyond the current century in which we live. In other words, there is a timeline of events in which something cataclysmic was believed to occur soon, and there isn't room for parts of it to get pushed off thousands of years into the distant future. 

Below is that footnote. All I ask is that you think about this seriously. I have studied thousands of pages of academese and I am personally convinced that all the eschatological mumbo-jumbo of academic guilds theorizing about imaginary sources is vastly more far-fetched than just taking the new-testament texts (along with all of their variants) at face value. Either something cataclysmic occurred in first century Israel, and that influenced the course of history, or the New Testament witness is false and unreliable:

Last of all, for those who have been trained to play safely in the eschatological Ouija of "already-not-yet" paradigms, I just want to point out that I understand why and how those paradigms typically work. I also was reared in already-not-yet hermeneutical presumptions. Yet I don't think any attempts at justifying those paradigms, offered by fundamentalists or critical scholars, are credible. I have spent fifteen years looking for one credible justification, and have not found one to be convincing by comparison with their fulfillment in well-documented first century events. The "data" doesn't actually add up to "already fulfilled-but-not-yet-fulfilled", or consummated, or whatever. One either believes the New Testament witness is historically reliable and rhetorically coherent, or not. It cannot be both under any already-not-yet paradigms. And if not both, then I think one might as well seriously consider playing around in the Jumanji of source-critical dogmas. 

I contend that all of what is contained in footnote #74 doesn't add up to proof or persuasiveness of the New Testament witnesses historical reliability and rhetorical coherence unless these time sensitive texts were seriously and truly referring to first century events that did take place. And I'll bite the bullet and say one more thing: they were seriously and truly referring to first century events that did take place in their future. Elsewhere on this blog I have written extensively about the many Church Fathers who interpreted many of these texts (cited above) as being fulfilled in first century events. Check that out too, when you get a chance. 

Friday, November 29, 2019

Vanishing point

Just call her
like you're on the phone
See if she picks up
She's alive
and ascended
The only reason not to reach for the phone 
and talk to her is
you can go directly to Joshua instead
Call up Josh then
Ask him
Talk to him 
Get his take on it
What's the worst that can happen
He'll hang up on you
He won't pick up
He will pickup
but remain silent
Maybe he will hang up
That's up to him
I don't know why he would
You would know better than I would 
about why He would
That's between you and him
And if he does
then you know how he feels about you
But at least he's going to pick up
and listen
to what you have to say
when you call
He calls each of us all the time
and we're the ones who don't make the time for him
We see him calling
Or we don't recognize the number
and send him to voicemail
He can leave a message if he really wants
Hopefully your inbox isn't full
But if you pick up the phone 
if you initiate and reach out
he's not like us
He will pick up
and listen
And that's what you need
We all need someone to just hear us out
He needs to hear how you feel
So tell him how you feel
Ask him whatever you want
Be real with him
He cares about you
She cares about you, too
She told her sister that she didn't want to be buried with their mother in Ohio
She wanted to be buried with her four children in Wisconsin
What we have been trained
and traumatized
to believe
to think
to fear
is the real myth
The horizon always ascends to eye level
no matter how high you ascend

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Look Down

Baffle  and manipulate to defeat their brilliance and slay
Them  in battle with trending tweets of disembodied knowledge,
With  armies of wikipinions and FDA approved standards.
Bullshit  guides of the blind they are, as Jesus would say.
If  only you would go back to the beginning and look down, not up.
You  know the type of which I speak.
Can't  you just go back and peruse vertically to see what I mean?
Dazzle  the blind guides forming and filling
Them  with toxic treats and cancers,
With  misinformation, disinformation, and blocked formations.
Brilliance  cannot be defeated if it cannot be baffled.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

DBH That All Shall Be Saved: Another Heretical Review

A few days ago I had a crazy idea. I wanted to spend roughly two minutes thumbing in a review of David Bentley Hart's latest (theological) book, That All Shall Be Saved. (I say this because he released a delightful children's book shortly after its release.) My review is nothing special. Although, admittedly, I'm the only person I know of in the cosmos whose basic disagreements with DBH, where found (which are not many), are slightly endorsed, albeit in a cheeky way, by himself in the book, and yet simultaneously and bombastically denounced within the same pages.

Perhaps, when all of the ridiculous invectives against Hart and the unapologetically childish cries  about the "heresy" of Apokatastasis across social media become a faded memory over the next year, I will muster enough energy to write a detailed, chapter by chapter response, showing that my own heretical critique is actually as reasonable, if not more so, than Hart's. 

But for now, this brief review will have to do. 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Recipe for Pastor Theologians

It’s not magic
It’s gospel
It’s the true presence of Christ in us
Walk with congregations
Illuminate the implications
Tend his sheep
With one eye on their heart
One eye on their digital parousia
We must lead 
To profane the techno drug
To cherish our tribe instead
Don’t just wish to form them
Deliver our good news to form them
Get lost in the like 
It was meant to save us 
Not to fame us
And share buttons
About our faith
We worship one Deity 
Equal in glory
Coeternal in majesty
Trinity of Unity
The what of Father is 
The what of Son is 
The what of Holy Spirit is
Spiraling out
Keep going 
Absolution lays in accurately reciting these verses 
Simsalabim Bamba Saladu Saladim
Don’t block the means to the end
No tablet or smartphone can compare 
To the refulfillment
We take and eat
In the Supper
Remembering the history 
Remembering the tendency
Moving and making 
Liturgy into magic 
Rainbows and warbows
Its modality calls us
Paying attention to the how
Of the gathered church
Of the assembly 
Of those coming together 
In creed
In crown
In covenant
The antidote of our distraction 
Let us read deeply
Between the lines
Between the leis
Between the lies
Misunderstanding us
Choking us
Decaying this embodiment of the us
When we gather
Like eagles
Christ is truly present in it
We too should be truly present in this gospel
With our people in its magic

Sunday, October 13, 2019


My sentence is for peace
Yet theirs is for open war: of wiles
Drink in my answers
A shelter of worthless lies and half truths
Trailing down my catabaptist gutters
Eating away bellies of insanity like a cancer
Or feast your eyes instead on their spread of metaphysical absurdities
Polluted by oversimplification and arbitrariness 
Repellant to sound reason and beautiful taste
Masquerading as the most terrifying tradition of the One
Thrice holy, omnipotent, and boundlessly good
Toward those sketched from all eternity
Glorious, supreme, and boundlessly cruel
Toward all those enlightened sociopaths 
With their appendage of the trinity in hand
And sacred tradition placarded across phylacteries 
Selectively following a democracy of the dead
Alongside peer reviewed pressure of tenured tracks 
Comfortably acquiescing to the dictates of infernalists and sacrificialists
One, holy, catholic and apostolic creed is all 
They need or want in common
Go and disciple all nations
They all insist
Baptize them into our quadrinity
Some demur
The kosmos must commune with our version of Divinity
They all genuflect 
Some kind of apostolic succession must be retained 
Our paperback version of sacerdotalism must be preserved
Just don’t call it that
Instead, call it giving obsequium religiosum
But don’t say it to them in Latin
That’ll send the wrong signal
And the gnostics might gain the advantage 
Slide it into our confession as an explanation of our creed
Heaven forbid they win the war
Heterodoxy and heresy must be brought to ruin 
Arians, Marcionites, Pelagians, and Catholics galore
All need the essential good of our glorious gospel 
That our benevolent and omnipotent Deity Has destined them
To everlasting splendor or unending torture
Those on the right will receive life unto ages of ages
Those on the left, unending punishment
For few, eternal life
For many, eternal destruction 
The wording of the Fourth person is abundantly clear
As it is tragically ironic 
And ironically tragic 
Eternal life or eternal judgment
So say we all
Eternal life or eternal fire 
So say we all
Eternal life for those who seek for immortality
Death for those seeking selfish hostility and rivalry
Disobeying the real while obeying injustice instead
So say we all
To the former, eternal honor and glory are distributed 
The latter are cast away from God’s presence and the glory of his might
Consciously tormented forever
So say we all
So fear not those who can kill the body but not the soul
Fear the One who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna
In the Resurrection from the dead-ones
God will give us all bodies so that we cannot die or be destroyed
If our lord says it
We must believe it 
And that settles it
So say we all
What more shall I say?
For time would fail me to tell of Jephthah and the prophets
Who were commended through their faith 
What matters now is knowing the standard set before us
Let’s not challenge it enough
To lose our jobs
Or credibility
Among the masses
Scholars agree 
There once was a time 
When the Deity dwelt among them
So they jotted down their collective encounter 
With this monstrosity 
Schools of scribes and redactors had their reasons 
For sculpting what remained of vellum and parchment
Professors and Pastors have their reasons too
They will provide the much needed apodoses if we agree with their protases
Anomalous constructions are everywhere throughout the pericope 
Adding admirable grist to the mill of any narrator
Desiring to craft a story capable of more than one meaning 
But their cleaning and scraping and gluing and standardizing is just 
Another adventure in missing the point
The sacrificialists suffer the same as infernalists in this way
An alleged unbroken succession of interpretation
The scribal traditions we train for today are as reliable 
As the plain meaning we regurgitate
So we are taught to believe 
So say we all
The Olah is a sacrifice that is wholly consumed by fire
That’s what it means 
That’s why we translate it as a whole burnt offering
That’s what our lord teaches us
So say we all
Our lexicons make no allowance for purely figurative usage 
Beyond the bounds of the book
An ascension to the holy mountain is not an option
The meaning is obvious
So say we all
Deflecting attention away 
From the narrative arc of the judges 
Its unique emphasis with immediate predecessors and successors 
With numerous progeny 
Yet he had more than a favorite
He had only one child and heir to a dynasty 
That’s why the vow mattered so much
All successors and predecessors are tempted with dynastic aspirations
We are not told this explicitly
Or are we? 
We cannot believe that 
Or can we? 
All such temptation was removed by God 
We can only believe what the text plainly means
So say we all
The end result is the same anyway
Some think she was to die unmarried and childless 
Others think she was to die unmarried and childless 
The timing of the death is what varies
One occurs over the course of time 
After a full life is lived without child
The other occurs in just two months
So that a full life cannot be lived with child
The lawfulness of the vow matters too
Can one vow to murder another or offer human sacrifice
Yet expect God to not hold him accountable?
We shouldn’t ask such questions 
Let’s pony up to the real horror of the story 
This righteous man was confused
He made a vow and was supposed to stick with it 
The same infernalist demanding Deity would certainly hold him to it
So say we all
Let’s not try to paint a prettier picture of the man than what he really was
So say we all
A sinner and unsophisticated rustic
In need of grace 
In need of that great Sermon on the Mount
To keep him from taking an oath at all
So say we all
Yet he made a vow and must keep it
Or else 
The most high God would ...
The text doesn’t say
But he certainly believed God would have 
So say we all
All primitives of that generation thought as much 
So say we all
Even Jesus said don’t vow at all
Because if you do you must keep it no matter what
So say we all
Let your yes be yes and your no be no
Anything more comes from the evil one
So say we all
Forget about the plague that broke out after Mesha sacrificed his firstborn
So say we all
If our lord said it
We must believe it 
And that settles it
So say we all
But what about those who felt a need to save her from being murdered? 
What about the Torah forbidding human sacrifice?
Aren't such vows invalid according to Leviticus?
Silence, Catabaptist
It was legal in Jephthah’s time
So say we all
Plus he was likely unaware of such Torah 
So say we all
Like the Ammonites who regularly practiced human sacrifice
If surrounding elohim required it
So did Israel’s Elohim
So say we all
But no one attempted to save the child 
As with Saul’s rash vow and action toward Jonathan
I said silence
That’s beside the point 
So say we all
What about their celebration of the Deity’s victories? 
So say none at all
This is no celebration
This is an annual event of mourning
The fact is clear enough 
A literal sacrifice was commemorated 
The human sacrifice was extraordinary 
So say we all
Artemis would only grant a favorable wind 
If the prophet’s word was kept
So say we all
The vow was made
Therefore the most beautiful thing must be summoned
So say we all
To eternal death, then judgement
So say we all
To unending, conscious, bodily agonies in the Lake
So say we all
But such was not the case for the only child on Moriah
Narrated in reverse 
Offered up as an Olah
There the sacrifice was required
There the father prepared to obey 
There the extraordinary faith was demonstrated 
There the lamb was provided in his place
There the Deity vowed to provide countless descendants 
Therefore Jephthah is the real phenomenon
So say we all
Like Abram
The true disciple of Deity
Like Abram
Waging war on His behalf 
Like Abram
Calling upon Him to judge between Israel and the nations
Like Abram
And the Spirit of YHWH came upon Jephthah
And he passed through Gilead and Manasseh
And he passed through Gilead of Mizpah
And from Gilead of Mizpah he passed through Ammon
And he—Jephthah—made a vow to YHWH
But Jephthah was a complete buffoon
So say we all
A man like the surrounding fools of goyim 
So say we all
He shouldn’t have made that vow
So say we all
Oh the tragedy and irony of each generation
Preferring the advice of Moloch over Belial
Swallowed up and lost
In the wide womb of uncreated Night