Thursday, February 23, 2012


A couple days ago now, I was sitting in an empty conference room waiting for people to show up for the Bible study I'm supposed to be leading (but a leader without followers is only taking a walk). One of the campus security guards walked in when he heard me listening to Roots in Stereo by P.O.D. (featuring Matisyahu). We got to talking and I found out he's a Jamaican Rasta (and that he's got an amazing singing voice). He was telling me about why he doesn't have dreads due to the fact that his employer won't let him have dreads unless he had had them before starting the job. It's a sad state of affairs for him, since his spiritual beliefs tell him he isn't supposed to cut or comb his hair. Employers don't care what your religious beliefs are, so long as you'll be a good little grunt and do what you're told. That's the way of the world. In Rasta terms, that's the way of Babylon (or Babylon mentality). For Rastas, Babylon is the world we live in and the only hope there is for the faithful is when Jah leads them to Zion.

It got me thinking about the distress I've felt the past several months. Often times I'd say to my sister that we should run away to Switzerland. I told her she should find some guy she likes, drag him with her and I'll snag someone I know here and then we'll make for the Swiss oasis. Though I was joking about taking someone with us, a part of me was quite seriously considering what I would need to do to flee to Switzerland (without being deported back to America). The problem I began realizing this week was that no matter where I go, I'm still in the world. After talking to the security guard, I came to realize that moving from America to Switzerland may be a change in scenery, but it's still Babylon. What I really need is to break free from Babylon spiritually, mentally, and in the way I live and that means following Jah, not the Rasta interpretation of who He is, obviously. Still, we've been raised in Babylon; we talk like Babylon, look like Babylon, eat the things of Babylon, yet we aren't supposed to be Babylon. Romans 12:2, John 17:15-17, and John 15:19 all talk about how followers of Christ are to be in the world, not of it. I'm not saying hole yourself up in your house and do nothing but eat, sleep, and meditate.

Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

Friends, we must remember daily that we are walking in Babylon. We cannot become complacent with this knowledge. We can take refuge in Lord who is our source of all good things. Remember though, that God doesn't have to miracle your butt out of situation just to help you get through things. God works in mysterious ways, ways beyond our understanding though we may attempt as best we can to. Think of the story of the man lost in the desert. He cried out to God for help. Not more than five minutes later a man in a Jeep drove by asked if he need a ride to the nearest town. The man politely refused and said, "No thanks, my God will save me." A few hours passed and the man was thirsty and hungry so He cried out to God for help. Just a few minutes later a family drove by in their RV and asked the man if he needed help, but he refused and stated that God would save him. Late that night, the man was freezing cold when a police chopper spotted him and called for a squad car to check out what the man was doing. The man told the police he would be fine and that God would save him. He died a few hours later. The man ran to St. Peter at the gates and yelled indignantly, "Why didn't God save me?!" St. Peter looked at the man with a confusion and replied, "What on Earth are you talking about? God sent you a nice stranger, a family, and the police and you were too obstinate to take their help."

Be Jah-minded, keep your head down, keep your eyes peeled; we're no longer captives in this Babylon.

Peace that surpasses all understanding,

Image source:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Thoughts on Violence Pt. 3: Why I Can't (Willingly) Serve

People who have known me for a while might remember just four years ago when I was convinced it was my solemn duty to serve in the military. These days I'm thanking God that I didn't get in when I tried (and tried again and again). I want to make it clear that I am not writing this to pass judgment on anyone else who serves, has served, or wants to serve. I am writing this to express my belief of why I cannot in good conscience serve in the military.

Since this blog entry is a part of a series on my thoughts about violence, I will suspend my criticisms of patriotism and focus specifically on the military specifically. The military is a force of individuals who do the bidding of their leader, but in America that is said to be for the sake of protecting the country. Now, what is required of an individual who serves in the military? There are a lot of little things (which add up to some big things) that I cannot talk about as an individual on the outside looking in, but I know a few more commonly understood things such as injuring or killing enemy combatants. This is obviously not all there is to military service, as I understand it there are four support staff working at desks for every military service member on the field. This says nothing of the kind of training one has to receive in order to be able to kill and kill efficiently without being killed.

But when I think about all the destruction that wars have brought I know I could not be a part of that, regardless of who is "right" or "wrong". I cannot be a part of an organization designed specifically for destroying life. Matthew 26:52 tells us of how Jesus handled a situation of violence and said the famous words, "They that live by the sword will die by the sword". Were it to come down to a draft, I would be a conscientious objector and the only reason I can see joining is to maneuver myself into a position that would not require me to kill anyone. I don't think I would flee the country, in part because I believe that that is not a very good solution. It puts me at odds with two countries. There are much more respectful and honest ways of taking a stand for peace and the value of life. The exception would be if there was a way to leave the country legitimately. When taking a stand for moral justice, one must be careful to abide by as many laws as possible so as to not tarnish justice with irrational haste.

Peace that surpasses all understanding,

Image source: "Want You to Stop War" on Minti

Monday, February 6, 2012


Reject. It's a powerful word that is used commonly to describe an outcast or the act of dismissing something. Interestingly, both uses of the word apply to Jesus. He was rejected by the religious leaders and he rejected the common interpretations of doing life God's way. Unfortunately, what was status quo religious activity isn't so different from that of today's world. This is really bad considering Christ did not just start a fashion trend, but a whole new way of doing life; yet humans seem to have a talent for turning everything into a mediocre counterfeit.

Image source: DoctorChibi - DeviantArt

Sometimes I wish it was as simple as to say XYZ is the problem, and once we fix that we can have our perfect little following of Christ and His teachings. Truth is that there is not one problem plaguing the Church. I can point out issues I see, but they're only a symptom of larger issues. Ultimately, the only cure for the disease is to put Christ back in the name of Christian. It's for this reason that I must point out something really bothersome about Christianity today (and no, I'm not talking about the magazine).

Image Source: cwgodzilla - Deviant Art

Let's face it, neither side really has the answer. We may feel passionate about specific issues which coincide incidentally with what one politician or political group purports to care about, but in the end there's so much baggage that has to go along with it. Let me use the hot topic of abortion as an example. All Christians, left and right, agree that murder is wrong. We also agree killing babies is bad, but the question comes up whether a fetus is actually baby. The Christian Right says that life starts at conception while Christian Left says it is up to the woman to decide what to do with her body. If it was really this simple, I wouldn't be writing this blog entry. The conservatives picket clinics where abortion procedures are conducted, and on the extremist end there have been bombings and murder; the very thing they supposedly want to stop. The liberals see the abortion issue as a moral decision which should be strictly up to the woman and that her right to choose is just as essential as any potential life while rejecting that a few multiplying cells in the womb constitute as being a human life.

What both sides fail to realize is that their views are politically, not Scripturally motivated. Oh, I'm sure it seems like God is ready to strike down every last abortion doctor and their whorish patients, right? Or perhaps those self-righteous Elephants need to get off their high-horse and start worrying about the hundreds of thousands dying daily from preventable causes? I've heard both sides of the argument ad nauseam. What we need to do is get back to this being about Christ, not a personal mission to legislate the government policies to fit our narrow interpretation of Scripture. The Jews at the time of Jesus were expecting political change too, you know. The Messiah they were expecting was going to liberate them from the evil Romans and restore Israel. We know the story, but we fail to apply to our own lives.

Friends, I can't tell you what to do, but I humbly submit to you that allowing your faith and following of Jesus to be manipulated by a political agenda is possibly one of the most damaging things you can do. Christians should not be fighting with each other over the politicized issues that do not concern us. Go back and read that sentence carefully before yelling at me about what concerns us (I'll wait). Things do need to change and there is lot of things wrong all around us, but if we wear political sunglasses, then we'll be unable to see the whole spectrum of problems and what is causing them. There is hope for humanity and the planet, but that hope is in Jesus and not in corrupt politicians waving flags and speaking flashy catchphrases.

With that, I leave you with this video to contemplate:

Reject the status quo and embrace the reject-Jesus.

Peace that surpasses all understanding,