23 Kislev 5775

12:19 PST

Slept in again (10:30 PST). No good excuses. Going to wrap up what little is left of picking up around apartment. [Pastor]’s son never got the TV yesterday.

Meditated on the law of reciprocity last night – “you reap what you sow.” Also recalled a conversation I had with [Pastor] some time ago, the upshot of which was just because you might be forgiven your sins by confessing to and profession Yeshua, that doesn’t mean you won’t still have to deal with the consequences of your sins. Having reflected on these two things, it was easy to understand why I no longer had people I could talk to at all hours about anything.

Yesterday, I took the advice of (I believe it was Ghandi) and started to be the change I wanted to see in the world. So, I reached out and called or (ugh) texted as many in the [church] community as I could for prayer or to just see how they were doing. I will be the first to admit that my prayer life isn’t at where it probably should be. Though, as I wrote yesterday (I think I wrote it anyway), YHWH knows how excellent he is. I get the sense that he would rather I spend an hour applying his principles than supplicating Him, though this may just be a spirit of self-justification and self-righteousness rearing its ugly head. Likewise, I don’t feel compelled to spend much or any time petitioning for my own needs, as I know the provider YHWH-Jireh has that covered too. That leaves intercession, which is where I spend most of my time. That, and of course, repentance.

I have always been desirous of intimate (not just the physical sense) relationships. I didn’t always recognize and appreciate theo nes I had, and often I would do a lot of introspection and brooding. Lately, I have been lamenting this lack somewhat, though I think the Father, Son, and Ruach Qodesh might be leading me into a season of depending upon them for intimacy. This, however, is not being said as an excuse for me to shut others out (as I have seen some do!), since the scriptures do instruct us that we are misled if we think we can love our invisible creator and not love our brothers (1 John).

Looking forward to receiving ISR translation.

17:20 PST

Made some progress with apartment. Found my old iPod, listening to [Spock Beard’s] Snow, just like before I left for Utah. Found the text of the Request Mast, also. Now it can live on in eternal perpetuity on some Google server.

Derek aka Fignuts will be taking the PC – and hopefully all related video game paraphernalia – off my hands tomorrow. I feel a little bad about making him drive [approx 4 hours] but at the same time he’s getting what was a $5,000 computer last December for free.

Memories of high school and burned bridges. Do most people even grow beyond their high school mentalities? Perhaps. Interestingly, found a post card from Kelsey in my things. Received while I was a patient at NMCSD. I suppose I should be glad I’ll never be in the headspace to understand why I treated her the way I did. She’s in [redacted] now, I think. Reached out to Sam who is in Portland and Sara who is in Olympia – won’t be surprised if I don’t hear from them.

This lyric… “Got a lot of heart ache I don’t show… what it’s like you’ll never know… to be the solitary soul” That’s a big lie. We pretend as if no one can understand us nor has anyone gone through what we’ve gone through in order to justify our defense mechanisms and walls.

It’s interesting to think about our interconnectedness. What I mean by this… I might spend an hour at a restaurant and eat some food. But for some, that food represents the culmination of their life’s work – the business owner, anyway. I like to imagine that the people preparing it also take pride in it though that isn’t always necessarily the case. Either way, the people of the restaurant spend their day to day lives engaged in the business of something we casually consume and think little on.

If this seems disjointed, it is a bit, because I’m dining. I don’t know if my departure feels “real” yet, but it isn’t the first time I’ve set out either. I’m leaving behind a lot of stuff, but you do that for boot camp. I’ll be interested to see how these “mixed dorm” hostels work out. If I am “afraid” of anything it’s meeting people who don’t want to talk and who just don’t care. About anything.

I was trying to think of Biblical characters to model on this journey. The only analogy I can think of is when Paul became the missionary to the Gentile nations. Even then it’s not the best fit. I am like unto a Roman through and through, touring the Empire, supposing I can say a thing or two about Yeshua only rarely (and not recently) having had the power of the Ruach Qodesh work through me such that others felt and could not deny it. Does that make me a pretender, or a wolf in sheep’s clothing? I notice many are eager to claim they are speaking “for the LORD,” but the Word is clear that teachers and preachers will be held to account for every word they utter – for good or ill – above and beyond the average person’s reckoning.

Would like to finish clean up and sorting and maybe evne try for the gym for the first time in forever tomorrow. Plus switch over to primarily liquid diet. I see my Doctor on Friday, [Nurse] tomorrow I think. Before returning home I might drop by Starbucks and read a bit (poor reading light at Banbu outside). My handwriting seems to be less sloppy than on the first day, so that’s something. Been holding off on telling landlord until the apartment is in a more showable state.

[Later…]

Hate this Starbucks music.

12/12/2014 – 12/13/2014

12:53 PST

[Bob] called to pray. Perhaps he took to heart what I said about relationships.

Is it childish, immature and unfair of me to have tested my brethren so? Probably. On a long enough timeline, everyone fails this test.

12/13/2014 11:40 PST

Patreon video done, still not sure about launching the page. Giving my TV to [Pastor]’s son. Mention of $200 possibly but I’d be okay with lunch.

[Eric] and others were supposed to get in touch about doing a couple different things today, but nothing yet. Last night I almost tried to reach out to [Asa] or [Jenny] to vent about a lack of confidants but decided better.

I grew up spoiled. I had Kai, and we spent hours on end talking to each other about everything. Even friends in B.L.E. [the Bellingham LAN Experiment] were like that – DiscoDave, for example. I really regret the immature way I terminated that relationship.

I really regret the immature way I’ve terminated a lot of relationships. I was especially mistrustful and thus venomous to the opposite gender. If I took an inventory of serious friends I have anymore, I think I could only really name [Pastor]. I won’t use the tired “Jesus is my friend too” cliche, because for one his name is Yeshua and for two I’ve been snubbing him for a few months.

For a long time I have considered the paradox that is “being understood.” The very means by which we seek to understand one another are the same ones from which misunderstandings are birthed. We suppose that if we “speak” the same language – English, for example – that we will be understood. But often a listener will decipher a different meaning for a particular word or phrase due to context, non-verbals, personal quirks or a host of other factors. Over time – months, years – unaddressed miscommunications pile up and isolation mounts. Also, given how intwined language and thinking are, a person born in Japan speaking Japanese thinks differently from an English speaker. Some of their thoughts can only be messily translated to English, if they can come across at all.

[Editors note: I could republish some old writing I had written along these lines, but I think some of it is still available at http://the-spearhead.com under the pen name J. Durden or JJ Durden. Likewise there’s a blogspot domain floating around where I authored some things under the same pen name, http://jjdurden.blogspot.com]

Small wonder, then, most college courses seem to open with a “define the subject in your own words” exercise before the instructor mercifully clarifies the course of study.

18:40 PST

Will hopefully have the apartment more or less cleaned out by tonight. Then it’s just a matter of giving away furniture and hiring a cleaning service to do things I can’t (since I don’t own a vacuum, etc).

[Pastor] said charge $15 a month. Ha ha!

Need to get back into disciplined scriptural study. Want to pick up a Names of God translation.

1st Peter 4:3-4!!

Metaphysics and Mystical Experiences

Continuing the train of thought from my earlier post on metaphysics:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T_P14JjMcM]
The video speaks for itself, so I won’t waste your time repeating its content.

Another topic I consider metaphysical – though some might not – is the topic of the make up of the spiritual realm. I encounter many people who seem happy to believe in Elohim – the Creator – and that a man named Yeshua (Jesus) existed some 2000 years ago. They may or may not believe in the miracles. They may or may not believe in the resurrection. They emphatically agree that loving God and loving your neighbors are the right way to live. But, often because of the history of the Bible or misunderstandings concerning how ancient texts are analyzed and translated, these well meaning people conclude we don’t need the scriptures to tell us how to pursue a relationship with God. When push comes to shove, they often cite their own “spiritual experiences” to back up their assertions.

Now, when I said I considered this topic somewhat metaphysical, it’s because it has to do with the nature of reality that is in fact much more real than observable reality. It kind of goes back to the difference between temporal reality and eternal reality – the spiritual realm is where angels, both righteous and fallen, reside. The Bible clearly affirms the existence of angels, as well as demonic spirits, and the spiritual realm. But if you are one to throw out the scriptures, you may argue that there are no such things as demons, or that Satan is just a metaphor for human misconduct, or there is no such thing as “evil.” And you might be arguing this because – and listen carefully – a demon disguised as an angel of light whispered sweet things in your ear about tolerance and respecting all paths to God and so on and you – being untrained in the scriptures; not believing in the scriptures; not recognizing Yeshua as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the way, the truth, and the life – are now living according to doctrines of demons!

But what really are “spiritual experiences,” especially if people who don’t prescribe to a certain religion can claim to have had such experiences from God? I think William James did a pretty good job summing it up in 1902, though he called them mystical experiences. To summarize, mystical experiences are defined by two major and two minor qualities – in the major, they (1) defy expression, (2) are authoritative as providing insight into truth; in the minor, they (1) are transient (cannot be maintained for a long time) and (2) are passive (i.e. cannot be voluntarily induced).

Don’t believe the what I said 2 paragraphs ago? Despite being exactly one of the people I describe (having succumbed to my own spiritual experiences, and consequently coming to some odd conclusions), the scriptures testify of these matters. In 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NKJV), Paul warns the church about false apostles but also expounds on Satan’s power to deceive:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Paul also warns Timothy – and by extension Church leadership – about doctrines of demons in 1 Timothy 4:1 (NKJV):

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…”

Not every sweet voice that whispers to you good sounding things is of God! 1 John 4:1-3 NKJV:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Yeshua HaMashiach has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Yeshua HaMashiach has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

Why is it so critical we place our trust and faith – pledge our fealty and sacrifice our lives – to Christ? In large part because Christ is truth and everything else is a lie! John 18:37 (NKJV):

Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”

Yeshua answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

John 14:6 (NKJV) reads:

Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 8:31-32 (NKJV) reads:

Then Yeshua said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in my word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Most people remember verse 32, but not verse 31, which instructs us to abide in Yeshua’s words, to be disciples (disciplined ones) of Him! We can see clearly from the scriptures above that a chief aim (or even THE chief aim) of Yeshua’s earthly ministry was to prove there is an absolute truth and to lead people to that truth! Ever notice how Paul frames spiritual warfare almost in the terms of a debate in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5? The scripture reads:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…

Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to Christ – the mind is central to spiritual warfare, and truth is central to obtaining the mind of Christ!

We now know that we cannot come to the Father, except through Yeshua. But are we allowed to worship our Father in just any way? Well, the answer has some depth. While Abba – YHWH our Father – is absolutely a loving God (1 John 4:8 NKJV: He who does not love does not know God, for God is love), he is also absolutely a Holy God – Jehovah Tsidkenu, the LORD of righteousness. (Leviticus 19:2 NKJV: “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I YHWH your Elohim am holy.”) In our Father, there isn’t even the slightest hint of evil – James 1:17 NKJV: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

In the Old Covenant, there were many rituals and laws designed to protect people from YHWH’s holiness. You might be saying – say that again? Because the people were sinful – and because the only mediator between YHWH and man was the Law, which was perfect but unattainable for man – YHWH had to protect the people from Himself lest he obliterate them with his holiness. Take for example the story of the profane fire from Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10 1-3 NKJV):

Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before YHWH, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from YHWH and devoured them, and they died before YHWH. And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what YHWH spoke, saying:
‘By those who come near Me
I must be regarded as holy;
And before all the people
I must be glorified.'”
So Aaron held his peace.

Nadab and Abihu offered profane fire in a manner not instructed according to YHWH’s righteousness and were consumed by his holiness.

Now, Yeshua has come, and stated in John 4:24 (NKJV) “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Moreover, by His death and resurrection, He tore the veil between God and man, pouring out His Spirit and serving as Mediator of a new covenant that grants direct access to our Father (Hebrews 9:11-15 NKJV):

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Yet this still doesn’t mean “worship any which way you please!” As 1 John 2:3-4 states:

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

Yeshua had many commandments – such as the one above, “abide in My word.” Or the whole Sermon on the Mount. But it’s about time to wrap this post up.

The take away I’m getting at is, you can’t just trust your emotions when it comes to spiritual encounters. Satan is deceitful. Most people aren’t going to knowingly worship something evil, but they might be duped into abandoning the truth for a sweet sounding lie. (This is sometimes called COMPROMISING!) Make sure you know the truth. Pray that the Holy Spirit aid you in living the truth.

The Fullness of Time (Part 1) – Rage

[Standard Disclaimer: This analysis represents only my personal interpretation of the lyrical content of Redemption’s suite, The Fullness of Time, and is not representative of the opinions of either the band or any affiliated persons involved in the production of Redemption’s music; past, present or future.]

Unlike my previous two posts, the next few songs I plan on deconstructing are actually from a band I enjoy listening to. In fact, if I had to pick a favorite band, it would probably be Redemption. They’re often described as a “prog metal” or “power metal” band, but I’m no expert at music genre types. I would certainly agree that their music is powerful, and often times, the lyrics seem to resonate very much with my own life.

In particular, their second album, The Fullness of Time, has been particularly instructive to me throughout the years. It has a total of eight songs, and while the first four are strong in their own right, they don’t have the staying power of the last four. The last four are part of a suite, and, depending on who you ask, may even be considered one whole song in and of themselves (the song name being “The Fullness of Time”). However, the songs are broken up on the CD as separate tracks, so I don’t buy that gimmick. Furthermore, each track has a separate name and theme, which help untangle some of the messages (or so I’ve come to believe) the songs are trying to convey.

These four songs are sort of like a mini-concept album, for those who are familiar with that terminology. Note also that since Redemption isn’t nearly as “mainstream” as the last two bands/performers analyzed, YouTube links may not be available for some of the songs. (Rage is not the strongest, musically speaking, of the four tracks being analyzed, but it has an important lyrical part to play in the total “story” if you will.)

Near as I can tell, the concept for this suite is that a person (hereafter, Man) suffered some sort of devastating betrayal, and the songs explore the various stages of Man’s journey towards recovery – starting with Rage, moving into Despair, finding Release, and finally achieving Transcendence. (In case you couldn’t tell, those are the four song titles as well.) I think there’s a lesson out there for some of the MRA crowd as well, so I encourage you to stick to it and read through these posts. If you get to the end and feel I’ve wasted your time, by all means, call me a raving lunatic/idiot and demand for a refund.

The first song, Rage, opens with the following spliced in movie quote:

I believe in death. I believe in disease. I believe in injustice and inhumanity, torture and anger and hate…I believe in pain. I believe in cruelty and… in… every crawling, putrid thing… every possible ugliness and corruption, you son of a bitch!

This, in case you couldn’t tell, more or less establishes the fact that we are dealing with an unhappy person.

Moving along, then, to the first verse:

Struck down by the persons that I trusted
Robbed of dignity and left for dead
I can feel unmeasurable anger building in me
Emptiness and rage begin to burn inside my head

Here we can debate whether or not Man was literally “struck down” and “left for dead,” or if these are merely impassioned metaphors. I suggest the more likely case that they are metaphors, and in my interpretation, they are metaphors of the betrayal Man has, generally, been dealt at the hands of women. Who among us can’t relate to that feeling of betrayal? Aside from the extremely rare statistical anomaly who was born with amazing gifts of Game, I think most of the male readers of this site have all suffered some sort of betrayal (perhaps multiple ones) at the hands of women, and I think we can all relate to feeling “unmeasurable anger” and even “emptiness and rage.” I have certainly felt this way, and it seems to be the case that others have too. (Props to Jabherwochie for the best analysis of daily psycho-sexual torture women conduct upon men I’ve yet read.)

Furthermore, most of us recognize that we have all been robbed of dignity – particularly our traditional male dignity – and this has left us worse off as a group. Traditional male values, as we all know, have been demonized in society at large, and positive/heroic/”flawless” male role models have all but disappered from mass media. Men aren’t remembered for their great achievements, anymore, but only for their great failings – and half the failings we’re remembered for seemed to have been purely invented by feminist machinations. It’s enough to get a man’s blood boiling.

Once I was a person without malice
Once my heart bled red instead of black
Friends with one hand held behind their backs carried knives
Didn’t see the blades ’till they were buried in my back

More musings and metaphors on the nature of the betrayal Man has felt. Specifically, this seems to relate to “nice guys.” I know it’s trendy to beat up on betas and nice guys in the current blogosphere climate, but I’m here to suggest that maybe we, as men, should try to establish some commonality with other men regardless of their perceived status on some vague hierachy that’s still being defined and debated. We all recognize that women have presented a united front, and why would we want anything less than a united front of our own to meet the challenge feminism has presented to our favored Western ideals? (If you are so inclined to try and preserve them, that is – but I don’t find most men talking about expatriating or forming new countries, so…)

I think at one point or another, most of us browsing these sites have identified with the “nice guy” label and bought into the party line that told us so long as we were well behaved and good providers we would receive many social rewards. I know that I bought into this idea and I’m a relative pup compared to some of the folks in the community. Those of us who have felt this way can probably relate to the lines of this verse – “once my heart bled red instead of black” and “friends [women] with one hand held behind their backs carried knives.” How many times have we described women as “stabbing us in the back?”

After this verse, we get the first does of the chorus:

Sleep with one eye open
Knowing that I’m watching you
Listen for my footsteps on every darkened street
Like a call for help unanswered
You can scream but no one hears your voice
No one there to save you
As I take my just revenge

I think this represents the sort of path unchecked male anger can take, especially towards women. There is a lot of anger out there – some of it evenrationally justified – and this is not something that should be trifled with. I understand this anger even if I do not endorse it. There is historical precedent for male anger exploding with consequences for a society – just see this quote by Nancy Levant “Why don’t you ask the women of Afghanistan what happened to their liberation, which existed prior to the national radicalization of angry men with weapons?” A common observation in the movement seems to be that if you kick a friendly dog enough times, you wind up with a mean dog.

As Man observes here in the song, women are not safe unless there are men present to protect them. Without Man, there is “no one there to save [women].” Furthermore, under certain understandings, an argument could be posited that physical violence as revenge could be just. (Again, I don’t endorse this, but I can certainly understand why people would.) If you feel this way, perhaps this musical suite will speak to you and resonate with you. I encourage you to read on and discover/consider alternatives.

Next verse:

I can hear your laughter
I can see you think you’ve won
But I don’t know how you live
With no remorse for what you have done

Pretty straightforward here – the laughter and having women think they’ve won stand in as metaphors for shaming language and common feminist debate tactics. Not knowing how women live without remorse seems to be a lament for misunderstanding either hypergamy or misunderstanding natural female amorality. Women play by a different set of rules, and Man has had to learn that the hard way, especially in the absence of systems (patriarchy) designed to curtail natural human failings.

Then the refrain:

You claimed you were my friend
All the while you planned to murder me
You claimed that I imagined all the things you’d done to me
You’ll pay for being so destructive
You’ll beg for compassion
But I’ve nothing left to give

This is a powerful verse. Once again, Man is lamenting the false friendship that women have offered him – especially in a more feminist society. “You claimed you were my friend, all the while you planned to murder me” could just be a metaphor for how women generally deceive and mislead to get what they want – think of cuckolding, adultery, all of those things. This is one of my favorite examples of attempted cuckolding. Remove the system that instills and enforces morality (patriarchy) and all of the sudden, all bets are off!

The third line is an important one – how many times has the male perspective been denied, especially by the supposedly more empathetic gender? How many times has Man tried to air his grievances only to be told it was all in his head, or worse, all his own fault? It is only natural he wants women to pay for what has been done, pay for being so destructive – after all, the sting of betrayal is still fresh, the pain still raw and tangible. “You’ll beg for compassion, but I’ve nothing left to give.” I see a lot of that sort of attitude here and elsewhere, and it is not illogical. But it doesn’t need to be the only way.

See what anger will eventually melt into, given enough time, with my next post!