HOW TO READ (and not read) THIS BLOG
I often find prophetic allegorical significance in events involving specific individuals. Some are high profile; others not. Rarely does the content of the allegory directly reflect on, or even relate to the character of those individuals (though sometimes it does). Few are even aware (though some are) that their time in the spotlight may be helping to illustrate a larger point in God’s plan. So it was in Biblical times; so it is today.
I attempt, to the best of my ability, to rest my writing on several foundational Biblical assumptions, the first and last of which is that Jesus Christ is the only Son of the one and only Father, Yahweh and the only way back to Him for sinful man (all of us).
He (Jesus Christ; the second person of the Holy Trinity) humbled himself, coming to earth in the flesh and dying for our sins on the cross at Calvary and he rose again on the third day, sending his Holy Spirit to guide us into all Truth, until he comes again.
(Yes, this is a Christ-following blog!) Also…
1) Yahweh is the omnipotent Creator of all that we see and all that we are. As I wrote here, he is responsible for the creation of atoms, DNA and cells (the “words of life, the universe and everything”) and also for the words of scripture (another kind of “DNA” for another kind of life, in a universe vastly larger than the one we can see, including in the dimension of time — something often referred to as ‘eternity’). All of these kinds of “words” of Creation can be and have been corrupted by sinful man to a greater or lesser degree.
2) Because Yahweh is omnipotent Creator of everything and intends for the “words” of his Creation to point to him in myriad ways (so that all may have an opportunity at knowing and coming to him) we can “read” patterns in the world (carefully and with discernment) in a manner similar to how we read scripture. Consistency within the symbol or type, and congruence with God’s Word are important clues to establishing that the pattern is worthy of scrutiny for potential prophetic significance. So too is vigilance that the allegorical message we’re seeing is not so corrupted as to lead in the wrong direction.
3) The meanings of various allegorical events are best read not as “omens” inducing fear and superstition. They are not dark signs that Satan and his minions have somehow reversed Christ’s ultimate triumph and corrupted everything so much we cannot trust anything we see, hear, sense or read. Nor are they evidence that God has changed his mind. Instead, they are the inherent and pervasive facets of the very fabric of God’s Creation — a fabric and a character that pops out virtually everywhere if you are firmly grounded in God’s character and open to His active, pervasive work in the world. These clue provide a way for the lost to find Him and for the saved to discover ever more awe in, and love for Him.
4) The message is always the same. (God does not change. He is Truth. He cannot deny himself). But even as he is firm and unmoving as bedrock, our loving, merciful God is not complacent. He reaches out to people “where they are”. That does NOT mean “seeker friendly” in terms of content, as some would have it. Instead, He uses ordinary events in plain sight and alternative (i.e., non-Biblical) media to get His message across.
YOUR ROLE (COMMENTS & COMMUNITY)
1) Please comment! Life down here on this broken earth, trapped in these mortal bodies, is lonely for all of us to some degree. This blog, at its best, is not a soapbox or a pulpit but a community. It is my fondest hope that, through this blog, men and women grow closer to God and to one another in agape love.
2) Grace, grace, grace. We’re all human. All have sinned. We are all in the process of being saved and sanctified. Keep the focus on the issue, not the person. Praying before commenting (and being obedient to the guidance you receive!) is always a good idea.
3) Comments will be regarded as personal communications, posted publicly only to the extent that I deem them to be, a) informative and/or edifying to build up the body, b) written so as to show the body in a positive light to unbelievers, and c) written in a Spirit of desire for the Love and Truth that is in Christ (and not just as a means to stroke your ego).
4) This is a benevolent dictatorship. Christ is the head. I’m the local caretaker, responsible to him. Knowing that he will be my ultimate judge in this venture sometimes leaves me literally trembling. Not often enough, but sometimes, it brings me to my knees when I consider the responsibility of teaching that I’ve waded into.
In an effort to meet that obligation, I may, for any reason, at any time, and without necessarily seeming consistent or fair to anyone but me, in my admittedly flawed attempts to converse with and be obedient to our Lord, edit your comment, heavily editorialized on it, or leave it unpublished — with or without explanation, warning or apology.
If you think I’m dangerously off-base on something, I welcome correction, but there is a Biblical process for that. It starts privately. (My e-mail is: his canny truth hour AT gmail dot com… with no spaces between the words.) Later, it brings in other Christ followers in agreement with one another, the Spirit and scripture.
5) Please read other comments and at least the more prominently bold-linked back-posts and external articles before submitting your comment. (I recognize that no one in his or her right mind is likely to read ALL of my back-links and out-links. In any other conversation this “getting up to speed” process — reading watching and observing first — would be simple, common courtesy.
6) Recognize that you are ‘speaking’ to a much larger audience than just me or the people who have commented before you and that your comment will “live forever” somewhere on the web to your eternal glory or shame. In getting up on stage in front of an auditorium and a live microphone with video camera rolling, most people would go to a great deal more trouble to “present nicely” than some do in the illusory privacy of their pajamas in front of their home computer. The vast majority of you do that, but we still get the occasional drive-by that sends me diving for cover.
7) I’m not your maid, or editor. If you can’t be bothered to take a moment to spell-check or edit your comment, I can’t be bothered to clean it up for you.
8 ) Do your homework, respecting the work I put into this (and time that others spend reading) by spending some time of your own when you add to it. (Some of you do this with such obvious selflessness and dedication that it humbles me deeply that you would choose to offer the fruits of your labors here.) Bring scripture, facts, links, references, anecdotes and logical arguments.
9) I am not here to personally tutor anyone (though I sometimes do anyway). I have been known to not publish comments so as to shield the commenter from public embarrassment. This has resulted in vitriol from people who seem unaware that I am shielding their reputation. This happens most often when someone offers up grossly flawed or obviously deviant theology, illogical or impenetrably hard-to-follow argument, or something… foolish. (Fools seldom know that they are one.)
10) Clarity is better than agreement. Agreeing to disagree and moving on can be OK. That happens with adults – a lot. It’s healthy and mature.
HOW NOT TO COMMENT
(RULES FOR WOLVES)
(Shepherds and sheep can skip this part. Wolves posing as sheep, or who imagine themselves to be sheep, ought to check in with responsible, doctrinally orthodox Christ-following elders in their local fellowship and take to heart their frank assessment.)
Ways to make me consider ‘spiking’ your comment, editing it severely or banning you from the blog altogether — something I hate and hesitate to do, even in the most egregious cases, but which I have sadly had to do several times so far — include but are not limited to the following behaviors:
1) Insist or imply that you have all the answers. (If you did, we should be worshiping you. Piece of advice: don’t go there. It’s been tried; it ended badly.)
2) Insist or imply that your interpretation is the only one that is valid. Scripture is vastly ‘deeper’ than it first appears. Literal meanings are the critical jumping-off-point, but seldom the end of the matter. A serious effort to discern the many other ‘layers’ of meaning behind a given text is key to taking God’s word seriously and understanding His will in it. In a similar vein, most prophecies manifest as ‘telescopic’ patterns, with multiple fulfillments.
3) Let your ego get ahead of your humility. Like pet dogs, we all have egos. From time to time they bark — some more loudly, often and irritatingly than others. I have to keep telling mine: “no! bad dog! down! sit! stay!” Unless you are St. Francis of Assisi, you probably have to as well. Like a good dog owner, I expect you to discipline your ego the way I try and do with mine by the grace of God.
4) ‘Take on’ me or other commenters. If you want a fight or a debate, you picked the wrong place. I dread (and will not tolerate) comment threads that begin to turn into one-on-one sideshows.
5) Write a ‘novella’ and/or ‘crib’ an article wholesale. As more people read and comment here, moderation becomes a bigger part of my job, taking time away from researching and writing new posts. If you’re new, don’t expect as much ‘rope’ on this as some of the old guard who consistently post ‘gems’ which I delight to publish without modification.
6) Use this soapbox to promote your pet project or agenda. You wouldn’t walk into a church, slap up a poster promoting your “thing” in the sanctuary, turn around and walk out the door and expect anyone to take you seriously. (At least I hope not). Doing so over and over with a ‘canned’ message or close variant would be equally contemptuous of the people you wanted to reach and their time.
7) Pseudo-SPAM. (SPAM with ketchup is still SPAM.) I occasionally receive comments (especially recently) that at first blush appear to offer up interesting material but which, upon investigation turn out to be aimed solely or mostly at driving traffic to someone else’s blog, web page or venture and/or at ‘flogging’ the same tired, ‘canned’ and/or narrow story that they haven’t been able to get any other thinking, praying, sensible person to ‘buy’ anywhere else. Don’t take me for a dupe or a fool and I’ll show the same courtesy in return. Show this community that there’s a real person on the other end of the line (however flawed) and you’ll be embraced with open arms.
8 ) Switch identities or offer a ‘dead’ or missing e-mail address. I recognize the importance, especially in these times, of being able to comment under something other than your real name, however complete anonymity is corrosive to Godly dialogue. If you want your comment published, I need a real, live e-mail address. (That means you have to answer it. If you, or your computer are banning my replies to you, or filing them as spam, that’s your problem, not mine). If I even begin to sense that you are switching identities to evade a ban, or a poor reputation that you’ve allowed to develop around a prior identity, I don’t care how edifying your comment is. You are gone. Go haunt another blog or take it up with the Big Guy.
9) It’s my blog. I answer to God. You do too.
A FINAL NOTE
Thank you… for your comments, your e-mails, your encouragement and most of all, your prayers. They mean a great deal to me personally and I am deeply humbled by them. I delight in being able to share what the Lord has given me and to be witness to just some of the ways in which those of you who comment manage to edify, teach, lift up, encourage and inspire one another in the grace, love and truth of our Lord. Please don’t let any of the legalistic-sounding items above deter you from continuing in the ministry to which he has called you — here and elsewhere.