Evils Behind the Evil

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2015 by jcwill5

By now most of us have seen pictures of the mass murderer in Roseburg.

What he did was horrific, unjustifiable, and deserves the greatest condemnation.

But since he is dead, he is beyond human justice.

Why his manifesto says he did it gives us a window into his soul.

And a window into how evil takes root, grows, and comes to fully possess a human life.

What we’ve learned is not at all comforting:

He saw himself as the supreme victim in a world of blameworthy villains, as the only normal person in a world of insane people.

He and his mother both had Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of high functioning autism which is unable to give or receive social cues and clues.

Both of them were paranoid and were loners–super quiet, unknown to their neighbors, and rarely seen.

The mother bought an arsenal of guns because she feared the government might take them away.

She utterly failed to understand her pursuit of super-security was fueling and arming her son’s violent agenda to destroy the security of others.

Here’s what their sorry tale tells us:

The Peril of Social Disconnection

First, we have a tremendous problem in our society with social disconnection.

It’s now the norm to not really know our neighbors, to not look out for or look after each other, and live in our virtual/media isolation bubbles.

Recently, a study of addiction challenged the scientific orthodoxy that addiction is a brain chemistry issue.

What they found, when they created a social world for rats and ran the same experiment using opium water that was previously held with rats in isolation, is the rates of addiction drastically fell.

Their finding:  addiction is mainly a disease of isolation, a by-product of profound aloneness and method of escaping the pain of loneliness.

With the destruction of the extended family, and with the industrialization and depersonalization of social services, we’ve created the perfect conditions to exponentially grow all kinds of toxic social pathologies.

And one of them is mass murder–the ultimate scream of rage against isolation.

The Peril of No Boundaries

The same elites that love their autonomy, cherish their freedom from all boundaries, and revel in the destruction of all roles, rules, and morals, have created a hell on earth for those who are less functional.

Ironically, the less functional and the more impaired someone is, the greater the structure and clearer the rules and the lesser autonomy they need to thrive in life.

In the culture wars, it’s not the social conservatives that are the losers.

It’s the less functional, more marginal, more routine-needing folks who crack under the torment of being bombarded with too many choices and no absolutes.

It’s like asking people in a wheel chair to climb Mt. Everest.

We’ve created a profoundly alone society full of virtual relationships and no rules and wonder why it pushes borderline people over the edge.

The Peril of No Help

Added to these evil-fuelling conditions is the irony of no practical help for the tormented souls, the ones most at risk of committing great evils, in our midst.

The mother and son lived in a timber-dependent county that was financially depleted and which therefore drastically cut back mental health services.

And, ironically, the local community college also eliminated its counselors from the payroll (and also required its security personnel to be unarmed).


Despite all the rhetoric, we’re pretty much on our own when it comes to heart and soul issues.

Neither our social services, nor non-profits, nor churches are well equipped to reach out to marginal people, reintegrate them into the human family, and help them cast out their demons–real or symbolic.

And it’s literally killing us.

So where is the evil in the Roseburg mass murder?

It’s not just in the shooter, or his family, or his locality.

It’s in all of us.

We each singly and together created a society and participated in a society of no connections, no boundaries, and no help.

It’s served our selfish interests and fed our autonomy.

Rather than arguing about guns, maybe it’s high time we all looked hard in the mirror and asked ourselves some tough questions.

Maybe it’s even time for a season of mass repentance, heart-brokenness before God, and turning from our wicked, autonomous ways and placing ourselves under His unfettered, redemptive control.

Then we can be part of the solution instead of indulging in a season of stupid, fruitless, blame-gaming.

Evil in Roseburg

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2015 by jcwill5

imagesEvil doesn’t make sense.

Evil destroys what is good.

Evil inflicts incredible hurt.

Not sickness.

Not misguidedness.  Not being unenlightened.

Not the environment.   Not the genetics.


It Defies Understanding

When evils happen, we are shocked and try to make sense of the horrific.

The very nonsensicalness of evil is one of the things that makes it so evil.

If there was a reasonable reason, we could potentially understand it and anticipate it.

If there was a moral defect, we could correct it or enlighten it.

If these was a mere sickness, we could potentially heal it, treat it, or seal the contagion off.

If it was purely environmental (made that way), we could change a law or socially engineer our way out of it.

If it was purely genetic (born that way), we could devise a test and pre-quarantine it before it strikes.

But we can’t–and there’s the rub.

We have no good words to understand evil’s joy in hurting others, its delight in exercising its warped sense of power and twisted desire to control.

We cannot grasp how toxically it sees itself as the supreme victim while justifying committing murder and genocide towards any and all who are part of the “wrong” group.

Rushing to advocate gun control laws or advocate gun rights, shouting, “it’s the gun” or “it’s the crazies of our society” don’t help us.

Such agendas of control only deepen the fury on “the other side”, further polarize us, and, most critically, don’t provide a whit of good counsel in the face of malignant evil.

So what can help?

First of All, Shut Up.

Let grieving people process their grief.  Be there.  Don’t fix or advise.

Don’t politicize their grief; don’t victimize them again by using them to further your causes.

They will be shocked, then want to pretend it didn’t happen, then be super angry, then sorrow most deeply, and then find some kind of wounded resolution far down the road–hopefully.

Let them!

But realize their lives will never be the same no matter what you say or do.

Their normal has died.  The former way of life is gone because their loved one is now ever absent.

And we simply cannot restore them or make it all better again.

The truth is their grieving of evil disturbs us.

We want it to end.

We want them to hurry up and get over it.

We want to pretend that evil doesn’t exist, and pretend that we are invulnerable and immortal.

It’s our own denial and illusions of control that cause us to pressure them to “get back to normal-now!”.

Deal with that issue before you open your mouth–or, for the love of God, please keep it shut because your pressure and insensitivity will only multiply their grief.

Second of All, Be Honest

But there’s one other reason why we want to close the book on such incidents.

We ourselves have evil within us.

We selfishly use other people.

We justify our own petty evils, and harshly denouncing the evils of others.

We excuse our own group’s gross wrongs, while nitpicking the faults of the other side.

We, when angry enough, are just as capable of murder and mayhem.

And that scares us.  And horrifies us.   But it’s the truth.

In fact, it’s the wrongs of others that we most harshly react against that shout, “That’s me!  That’s my problem, too!”

Again, admitting this fully will serve as a check against our evil tendency to “go after” the people we blame and thus cause evil to multiply.

Please don’t.  You’ll just make things worse.   It’s not about you and your petty outrage issues and your tantrum-throwing, threatened little ego.

One Final Thought

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who suffered greatly under the evils of Soviet Communism, had this profound observation about evil:

Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”

Next time we’ll look at how, even if evil can’t be stopped, it can be redeemed.

Ringing in My Ears

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2015 by jcwill5

2015-07-25-1437863769-5264456-04BRODsuperJumboI have a hearing problem called tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

And it’s gotten worse over the years.

And it’s social price-tags are going up.

There.   I’ve said it.   The cat’s out of the bag.

The Incident

Several weeks ago, I took my son to a high school class registration event where we worked our way through numerous lines in a large, loud, public area.

For some reason having to do with self-consciousness and not wanting to draw attention, he lowered his voice.

I kept asking him to speak up, and he kept refusing.

Finally, after losing my patience with him and him wondering why I was upset, I did something I have never, ever done before in my life.

I admitted to another human being that I had a hearing problem.

Explaining to him that I had tinnitus, a constant ringing in the ears that makes it really hard to hear in loud, echo-filled, background noise intense, public places.

I described how it affected me in funny ways–I heard everyone else in that room talking super loud, but I couldn’t hear him–the person right next to me.

My son was shocked, told me he had no idea…and began to speak up.

Why the Silence

Truth be told, it’s not cool to be mild-to-moderately deaf twenty years too early.

I have these unattractive images of older people who’s lost their hearing:

  • Hearing people wrong and repeating their wrong guesses out loud.
  • Speaking too loud when replying on a phone or in person.
  • Saying, “What?”, “Could you say that again–I didn’t hear you?, “Could you repeat yourself?”
  • Fumbling with their hearing aids.
  • Having them squeal in a quiet part of a worship service and not realizing it until their spouse elbows them.
  • Dropping them into a cup of coffee–and spending thousands of dollars to replace them.

They are not pleasant or attractive images.

They are images full of social awkwardness, hindered communication, and, above old, growing old.

They are the butt of jokes and fodder for comedians.

It’s Me, O Lord!

I don’t want these pictures to be me.

But they are me!

So there’s a lot of social pain wrapped around the condition.

I’d rather pretend and live in a fantasy land of denial.

Until I can’t anymore.

Of course there’s nothing shameful about having a disability.

Too many loud rock band practices, concerts, and performances during my teen years are the culprit.

And there’s not much I can do about it thirty years later until it gets so bad a hearing aid becomes compulsory.

Or perhaps the exciting developments in Great Britain about a potential breakthrough in non-invasive tinnitus treatment will bring relief.

They’re discovering tinnitus might not be physical damage to the ear but circuitry damage to brain from sound overload.

Compensating for the Secret Problem

When one is going slowly deaf, you try to work around it. So…

I avoided large, bad acoustic, public settings.

I invited people talking with me to step into the hall.

I arrived at large social events late and left early because the din was so great it was a torment.

I delayed getting a cell phone as long as possible.

I avoided making phone calls as much as possible–it’s really hard for me to catch silences and social signals of who’s turn it is to speak or when someone is done.

I’ve largely limited communication to writing, or in live, one-on-one settings.

I would be largely silent on conference calls because the static and background noise from all the participants’ phones was too difficult to overcome.

My Second, Worse Problem

My deafness is undeniably a problem.

But my failed, shame-driven attempt to conceal it was a far worse problem.

On account of my personal embarrassment, very few people in the world know this part of me.

I’ve denied myself their compassion, understanding, and, most tragically, their conversation.

And I’ve hindered ability to minister to others because, to the unaware critic, my compensating behaviors come off as anti-social or unfriendly.

The untold story is I was greatly embarrassed and had this dread of being unable to work in churches if my secret ever came out.

“Who would want to hire a somewhat deaf pastor?” was the fear.

I failed to ask, “How can I help them to work with a somewhat deaf pastor, adjust their expectations, and not take my limitation personally?”

To put it another way, “How can I give them the information they need to not be frustrated and extend Christ’s love to me?”

Coming Out

So, as an act of humility and repentance, I decided to go public.

It won’t change my limitations.

But at least honesty promises to build more bridges of compassion and understanding, and tear down walls of misjudgment and isolation.

Questions for Pope Francis

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2015 by jcwill5

As most everyone knows, Pope Francis is visiting our country, has met with our president, and spoken before our Congress.

AP_pope_congress_10_mm_150924_31x13_1600Francis encouraged us to have wide open borders and use our wealth to fund global carbon reduction goals.

“Welcome them all in” and “fund carbon reduction around the world” would be the slogans.

So let me ask him some hypothetical questions….

On America Welcoming Any and All Migrants

Are we morally obligated to have no effective, functional borders, and no controls over who can and can’t enter our country?

Are we morally obligated to let anyone cross our borders who wishes–as long as conditions in their home country are economically worse than ours?

Are we morally obligated to treat foreign nationals who follow the legal process for entry and residency the same as those who violate/disregard that process?

Is raising the above questions sinful?  And is disagreeing with the policies of governments and/or advocacy groups that have this agenda morally wrong?

How does the Old Testament command to Jews to treat well the Gentile individuals in their midst, directly apply to a mass migration situation confronting Europe and the United States right now?

Did the Jews not guard their territorial integrity, safeguarding their societal and religious distinctiveness, all throughout their history–all in obedience to the Mosaic covenant?

Our immigrating great-grandparents entered the country legally, learned English, embraced American culture and the melting pot idea–is it therefore morally wrong to expect today’s newcomers to do this as well?

On America Funding Global Carbon Reduction

Is a nation so heavily in debt as ours is right now obligated to pay the bill for other nations’ carbon reduction programs, simply because we are wealthier than they are or industrialized earlier than they did?

If, as you point out, we are neglecting the care of our own people, do we have any business funding other nations’ environmental programs?

Is it right to point out that, in so many of these Third World nations, corruption reigns and the vast majority of our foreign aid has been squandered over many decades or lined the pockets of their elites?

Is it right to wonder if this endeavor won’t end up being another foreign aid boondoggle that ends up hurting our own working poor the most?

If, as you advocate, we ought to take the lead in funding the reduction of carbon emissions, will this cost not fall the heaviest on those poor folks who drive the oldest, least fuel efficient cars?

Will this not hurt rural communities with high levels of rural poverty, whose livelihood is tied to the coal industry and/or who must drive the furthest distances and travel the most miles to jobs, shops, etc.?

What about them?

Inside vs. Outside Perceptions

To be fair, Francis spoke in generalities, and he is, by his own admission, largely unfamiliar with the United States, its culture, and its unique society.

To his Argentinian eyes, we are the land of unrivaled plenty, a source of endless wealth, full of wide open spaces, and home base for an unbridled, exploitative capitalism that is destroying the world.

Almost like we still live in the late 1800’s–with its industrial robber barons, their monopolies, their exploitive rape of the environment, and their social darwinist approach to their workers.

This unchecked, exploitive, resource raping capitalism was curbed at home in the early 20th century, but continued abroad well into the 1960’s and 1970’s.

But, to our eyes, we have become a massively indebted society that is heavily regulated and deeply polarized–unfairly blamed for all the world’s current woes.

To our eyes, we are overwhelmed by the huge levels of chronic dependency and feel already overpopulated rather than empty.

We feel broke and crowded, and therefore think the most responsible thing to do is to reduce expenses and limit newcomers.

I wish Francis well.

But I wish he had truly understood us better as we are right now here at home, not as we used to be abroad.

Awakening the Dragon

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2015 by jcwill5

Dragon_fire2It’s no secret that our nation is deeply polarized right now.

We are  a nation of two all-encompassing, firmly entrenched ideologies locked in contention.

One could even argue that we are a nation of two political religions, both radicalized and both forming the core identity of their followers.

This has happened before.

In the 1850’s, abolitionism and pro-slaveryism became far more aggressive in their tone and far more expansive in their goals and in their arguments.

They became religions in their own right, disguised as Christianity.

Americans at that time self-segregated and broke relations with those on the opposite side of this divide.

Americans at that time began to see everything in zero sum terms–a win for their side is automatically a defeat for our side, and vice-versa.

Every event, however mild or incidental, fed the drum-beat of paranoia and stoked the fires of aggressive defense.

The circle of what they shared in common as Americans shrank until nothing was left, and they began to see and think of themselves as completely different nations occupying the same space.

Even Lincoln, at his first inaugural address, was unable to bridge the divide and keep the nation together.

“We must not be enemies, we must remain friends” fell on deaf ears and 4 years of terrible civil war followed.

What I find most interesting is how both sides saw themselves as defenders–defending the union or defending states rights.

And they saw the other side as insatiable aggressors–as those who were trying to destroy the union or as those who were invading the homeland to destroy a way of life.

My point in saying all this is to note there was a long process in the run-up to Civil War, an outcome that was not foreseen in 1840 but which built a momentum of its own over the next 20 years.

I see the same thing now.

Today we are similarly divided, and every bit as deeply polarized as they were.

Whereas the conservative ideology held the upper hand until the mid-2000’s, now the progressive ideology is dominant in the media, the courts, in the regulatory agencies, in educational circles, and in the executive branch.

Internationally and here at home this ideology has championed homosexuality as a positive good, and made it a litmus test of whether or not you can serve in public or private leadership.

Dissenters, however mild in their disagreement, are hounded out and made to resign their leadership positions through social media campaigns.

Or, if in small business or private organizations, dissenters are sued, tried by media, and required to be “re-educated” (in New Mexico) or fined hundreds of thousands of dollars (Oregon).

And, predictably, there is a backlash, even a counter-revolution, that is mobilizing its forces, gathering steam, and deepening its ferocity.

Why Donald Trump?

That’s why, contrary to all reason and wisdom, so many are flocking to Donald Trump.

He has tapped into the simmering anger, the smoldering rage of those who feel like they are having progressivism, homosexualism, socialism, etc. shoved down their throats.

He is mouthing off vicariously for folks who feel silenced, belittled, and on the receiving end of social shaming and bullying by the progressives.

And they love it!

He is giving them an outlet to send a gigantic, upraised middle finger of defiance against political correctness, against belittlement of their morality, and against the constant pressure to conform.

My guess is 30-40% of the white electorate feels this way.

And the more the media deplores Donald Trump, the more they laugh and cheer on his unapologetic, give-it-right-back responses.

This is more than political theater.

I fear a dangerous dragon has re-awakened.

The dragon is the suppressed anger and collective rage on the Conservative side that, once awakened, will be terribly difficult to send back into its cave.

Conservatives are not, by nature, firebrands and revolutionaries.

But once they feel like they have no legitimate place anymore in society–in business, in governing institutions–their normally solid attachment to the established order of things is severed.

(Note:  We are STILL dealing with Southern backlash 150 years after the Civil War ended!)

But the progressives are so heavily invested in “expanding” homosexual “rights”, governmental programs, political correctness, etc. it becomes a compulsion.

Their zeal extends in purging dissenters from holding any position in public society, so they will not acknowledge this building backlash.

From my chair, I would argue that it’s not conservatives, but the progressives, that have created the creature Donald Trump.

He is the mirror image of their own sanctimony, their dismissiveness and utter contempt for those who disagree them, and their narcissistic, self-justifying rudeness.

They sadly deserve each other….but our nation deserves better.

We need to step back from this precipice, this dead-end going nowhere but armed conflict in the end.

That’s why I daily pray we are not on the road to a second Civil War, and for us to get off the road if we are.

What Infinity Teaches Me About God

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2015 by jcwill5

Infinity is a number with very strange properties, unlike any other.

Here’s some examples:

Infinity_SymbolYou can add any number to it, and the resulting sum still equals infinity.

Even when you add an infinity to an infinity, you still just get one infinity.

Subtract any number less than infinity from infinity, and it still equals infinity.

Place infinity over any number less than infinity, and it still equals infinity.

But place infinity under any number less than infinity, and the resulting sum equals zero.

Even dividing an infinity by an infinity will still only equal one infinity.

It’s unmultipliable, unaddable, unsubtractable, and indivisible.

How is infinity relevant?  And what does it have to do with our faith?

Simply this, it gives us some unique insights into God.

The Being we call God tells us that He has infinite capacities–all mighty, all knowing, all present, etc.

Which means He is infinite–He Himself is an Infinity in every infinite way.

God and Infinite Time

This Being claims to simultaneous exist in the Past, Present and Future.

He occupies all moments, and yet stands outside and above all time. (“Who was, and is, and is to come.”  Rev. 1:4, 8; 4:8)

Which is why there are so many prophecies–strange instances where events are foretold from the perspective of after they’ve already happened!

He can look at one instant for all time, and can survey all of time in an instant. (“With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day.” 2 Pet. 3:8)

From His perspective, we who know Him “now” are already with Him “then” in His beyond-all-time time.

Infinity helps explain such temporal conundrums like fore-knowing, election, predestination, etc. that violate our time bound perspective–the sequence of moments, cause-and-effect universe we exist in.

God and Infinite Space

This Being claims to fill and occupy all of space-simultaneously filling the heavens and the earth. (“”Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” says the Lord.”  Jer. 23:24)

Yet He no amount of space, however vast, contains Him, and He stands outside the physical universe. (Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house that I have built!” 2 Chron. 6:18)

There was no space an Infinity Person could have come from, nor no time that was before He already was.

It explains the statement, “From everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” (Ps. 90:2; 103:17; 106:48)

From His perspective, we who know Him and are “here” are already “there” with Him in His beyond-all-space place.

God and the Infinite Name

Infinity also explains His odd-sounding name, “I AM”–a self-existing, outside-of-all-time being who simply and always is. (Exod. 3:14)

And speaking of names, the “I AM” name in Hebrew lends itself to being joined to an unlimited number of marvelous qualities, “I am faithful”, “I am holy”, etc.

It’s the unlimited fill in the blank with any superlative kind of name.

Which means it’s the one name an infinite Being could use with finite people that does not limit Him in any way.

The Nothingness of Idolatry

God forbids idolatry–“You shall have no other gods beside/next to/alongside of Me” (Exod. 20:3; Deut. 5:7)

Put any finite being or quality above God, however wonderful or vast, and it cannot lessen Him.

In fact, He lessens all else that attempts to be above Him and, compared to His Infinity, all else equals “zero”.

Would it surprise you to know that the word “idol” in Hebrew means “a zero”, “a nothing”?

But when anyone or anything places itself under God, under infinity and in its proper place, then God remains infinite and the person under Him retains their full value while in that subordinate position.

Even better, when under Him we find ourselves caught up in His infinite purposes and He is infinitely able to express His Infinite character and capacities through us (i.e. – changed hearts, miracles!).

When relating to the Infinite, we will find that the submission, surrender, and subordination of our entire person to Him is the only place where our full value can ever be experienced!

It’s when we try to be above Him, seeking to place ourselves above or downgrading Him to be our subordinate, that we end up devaluing ourselves and experience futility (nothingness).

Infinity and the Trinity

Infinity also helps us understand what we call the Trinity–the three-Person society of His single, undivided Being.

Three infinities–each distinct in and of themselves, yet which, when added or multiplied with each other, will ever and only yield the sum of a single infinity.

We have one God, eternally existing in Three Persons who share infinite love, society, and joy between, within, and among their one infinite Self.

All this infinity makes our finite minds go “TILT!” but, in light of the unique qualities of infinity, such a Three-in-One infinity makes sense.

Which is why worship is the best, most fitting, and only true response to Him from finite human beings!

Caricatures of God

Posted in Humble musings on today's culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2015 by jcwill5

Human beings are always putting masks upon God of one kind or another.

Truth be told, an infinitely perfect, absolutely holy God who sees all, knows all, and controls time and space is threatening to our egos.

So, to create some comfortable space for our egos, we downgrade, redesign, and give God an extreme makeover.

He make Him into something familiar, something we can understand, something we can control.

But it’s no longer Him.


Many of us unconsciously project ourselves onto God.

He’s the big, blown-up version of ourselves that likes what we like, hates what we hate, and makes things go our way.

He’s our ideal us.

This god exists to stroke our ego, justify our choices, and make us feel good at all times.

He validates and reinforces what we already think, what we already feel, how we already live, and what we already believe.

He serves our career, our family, our political party, and our national interests.

He’s our safety blanket, who’s there when we need him to help get us out of jams.

Parent Projections

Perhaps He’s the great big mommy-or-daddy-in-the-sky.

The indulgent, enabling parent that we manipulate, or the punitive, abusive parent we avoid.

A being without compassion, or a being without standards.

No wonder so much of our religiosity is a toxic mess, a hypocritical cesspool, or a con-job scam.

We’d like to live in a universe with no final judgment, no ultimate accountability, and no Hell–so we make God into a cheerful grandpa or “nice Santa” who gives us whatever we want and winks at our wrongs.

We’d also like to live in a universe where bad guys are punished, where wrongs are righted, and where people who hurt us get their richly-deserved comeuppance.

So we end up with this drill sergeant kind of God, this out-of-control rage monster who is arbitrary, peevish, and unpredictable.

De-Masking God

One of the greatest tasks facing the person who truly wants to know God is to allow God to speak for Himself, represent Himself, and be Himself–however humbling or threatening to our egos that is.

We stop telling God what He’s like, stop comparing Him to ourselves or to a human authority figure, and stop playing our dysfunctional games from childhood with Him.

He defines Himself–not us.

He speaks for Himself–not us.

He acts like Himself–and doesn’t put on an act for us.

We expect Him, as infinite and perfect, to have to infinitely stoop to reveal to us what He’s really like.

We expect Him to be far higher, far deeper, and far greater than our poor little finite minds can ever comprehend.

He’s full of surprises to our conventions, has infinite levels to discover, and is unendingly fascinating and ultimately beautiful–blindingly dazzling and splendorous!

No boxes will fit Him.

The Very Embodiment of Infinite, Moral Perfection

When we remove the mask, what will we find?

He’s perfect in every way and His character has all perfections.

He’s not merely good, He’s goodness itself.

He’s not under any standard of justice, He Himself is the perfect standard of justice.

He simply cannot be improved and will never be downgraded from an absolute, unlimited, unalterable perfection at the timeless, boundless summit of all existence.

Anything less is something of our making, and not Him.

The moment we put Him under some standard and condemn Him by it, we’ve lowered Him to our level.

That’s why He forbids idols–mental and physical images that, by definition, degrade Him in some way.

If He didn’t reveal Himself to us, we would never know Him or discover Him or ever get Him, let alone get Him right.

That’s why there’s a Bible.

In it we read that for the One who is morally perfect, infinitely holy, and absolutely righteous, no moral imperfection, evil or sin can be with Him or in His presence.

Yet, as One who is infinitely compassionate and unfathomably grace-giving, He went to ultimate lengths to both satisfy His righteousness standards and to gift-righteous guilty sinners so they could be redeemed and restored to Himself.

All brought together in His Son, God-in-Human-Flesh–Jesus Christ.

In Christ–God’s ultimate self-revelation–we seek how He is gloriously multi-dimensional and perfectly balanced in His character–His holiness is loving and His love is holy, for example.

So when anyone dares to invoke His name, or quote His word, to advance some personal, political, national, or social agenda in this fallen world, beware!

The chances are almost certain that the being they refer to as “God” isn’t God at all, God as He tells us He is and as He represents Himself to be.

And that should give us all pause.


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