Monthly Archives: September 2011

the most important thing: don’t hate!


don’t stop loving.

The enemy has won already the moment you stop loving…

be it the devil, the system, or other evil…

The enemy wins if you tolerate hate in your heart.

Hate is most important tool of the Enemy

turning brothers and sisters created in Gods image into enemies

humans never are the enemy

we don’t have to fight flesh and blood

but the Powers that be. who turn us against each other…

Violence will onlt beget more violence

The only real revolution will set both oppressor and oppressed free!!

and restore our human worth

No human being will ever be irredeemable

we’re all created in Gods image!!!

teenage flashback: I’m not flirting, but I might need a hug…


I just fell in love with this picture when I saw it. It looks like me when I was younger:

I don’t think I really wanted and even needed more.

I don’t think I reall needed more. Just love.

Friendship-love. Something real. Something not fake like oversexed music videos, billboards with half-naked women and other nonsense like porn.

I was turned off by everthing about sex at a certain moment. The whole of society was trying to sell me as much sex as possible, and I saw no love at all in it. The Christians sometimes seemed to be more interested in teaching how to not have sex than how to love…

Maybe I did scare girls away because they thought I wanted something I didn’t want. I never cared for sex without love. I don’t think I ever will. I have no problem with sex and I quite like it (which is probably good, since I’m a married man…) but I don’t get the hype. Sex is part of a love relationship. It is not an end in itself, and can be destructive if it becomes an end.

to quote Shane Claiborne:

If we are able to have a healthier understanding of sexuality and to celebrate singleness as well as marriage and family, then we can transcend some of this. One of my mentors is a celibate monk, and he says we can live without sex but we can’t live without love. And there are a lot of people who have a lot of sex and never experience love, and people who never have sex [but] have deep experiences of intimacy and love.

That’s what I needed. That’s what everybody needs. Maybe sex can be a distraction and substitute for some people in a way that just could never work for me, but it cannot replace love and cure loneliness.

Are we there for those who need love and friendship?

I’ll conclude with an old Bram Cools song (lo-fi alert:  strange arrangement, poor melody and not so technical vocals), which can be downloaded here. It’s not really a video, sorry.

Love your enemies!


Jason Barr posted some interesting quote lately, from the didache, an old christian book from the same time as the New Testament:

If you love those who hate you, you shall not have enemies. – Didache 1.9

There was some discussion about how this does not apply to the devil, and indeed, I do believe that both the didache and Jesus speak about human enemies, not about the ‘Powers and authorities’ Paul describes.

A person that is against us is not the real enemy, but a human being created in Gods likeness and image. Seeing the person as the enemy is a distraction from the real evil… If s/he is channeling something evil then the evil is first and foremost destroying that hostile person him/herself. So we are to love all humans, and the real enemy is not of flesh and blood, but spiritual… Evil powers are never the friend of our human ‘enemies’, but their enemies as much as they are ours.

Likewise is the idea of non-violent liberation theology, that a real revolution sets both the oppressed AND the oppressor free. This is the real revolution, away from the never-ending spiral of violence… But even we as Christians seem to not be able to believe this… Which brings me to the ending quote:

The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried – G. K. Chesterton

what do you think?

Shalom

Bram

ps: coincidently I just read a very good article by Brian Mclaren on the subject of enemy-love: In responding to our enemy imitatively, in catching our enemy’s hostile spirit, we can become an even worse enemy to ourselves. We can do ourselves more damage than the enemy ever could.   Recommended reading!

‘Jesus, the translation of the Ununderstandable Source of Everything’


This blog post is just a rant based on parts of a facebook discussion in which I took part. It’s my way of explaining my faith against ‘scientific’ enlightenment thought, to people rejecting ‘Christianity’ for various reasons, while what they rejected would be something I wouldn’t be that interested in either…

The discussion started with me rejecting the ‘god of the gaps idea’, or something like the idea that ‘God’ is just a hypothesis to explain everything that can not yet be explained by science. I used a lot of words, and pictures that are not part of standard evangelical lingo at all…

A ‘God of the gaps’ is in no way what faith is. Faith is not an obsolete older way to come to the same things as science does now! If that’s the way you look at faith you’re like a deaf man trying to understand an orchestra … There’s no gap to be filled, because the goal is not at all (like in a modern woldview) to be able to describe everyting in an systemathic and abstract way, as if that in any way helps us really understand the world. Facts are the lowest form of truth. A scientific investigation of the world might be able to decribe it and anaylyse it, but it will never get to the core of it.

No, firstly the orchestra isn’t human and part of our dimension system, and the sheet music is not written down in a way we can understand, nor can we ever obtain it, or could we read it if we’d be able to get it. Sure, we can transcibe it like we hear it ourselves, in our own notations (missing a lot of nuances that we might not even hear) and those transcriptions can be good enough to enable us to manipulate the world around us for good (medicine for example) or for bad (atomic bombs, agent orange, …) but whatever our transcriptions, they are only our ways of making sense of our world. Faith has nothing to do with dissecting the music in our metaphor, but with listening to it and let it fill our beings. Fine if you want just a transcription in a human notation system, but that’ll never be the music, and a deaf man investigating the music that way will never get the point of what the music is, not even with the best sheet music transcription… His ears have to be opened.

So let’s move from general religion to Christianity: And as a Christian I do believe that the ‘Ununderstandable’, that also lies at the beginning of everything, has revealed something of itself in the person of Jesus Christ. That’s an accomodation, a translation of that ‘Ununderstandable’ (or God) in a way we can understand enough as human beings for us to connect with it. And I trust the gospel books of the New Testament, I have no problems at all with stories of miracles and the resurrection, even if some details in the stories are not corresponding I don’t see why it would mean that supernatural stories are untrue. Those details are not the point. The bible is there to teach us about God, and to bring us to God in the first place, not about giving us modern science or historical details. It’s usable for liturgt, meditation, whatever. If we can’t see what the facts are pointing too, we’re missing everything…

My own faith is grounded in something that is for me more substantial than any intellectual claim can be, something that has touched me and that won’t let go of me. Even if I know that all of our traditions are full of errors, and that some deviations are more than toxic (and it seems you’ve been hurt by some toxic expressions of Christianity) but that’s not the point. Our traditions are all man-made and fallible, but drop of Truth in them comes from God. (If there’s some left, your TV-preachers may just be like the light of a deepsea devilfish that’s attracting other fishes with his deceptive light to devour them. Any creature that has seen the sun will never be fooled by such monster)

But I just want to say that the substantial reason why I still believe is something beyond reason and intellect, maybe more mystical or existential, I don’t know. I just know that this Truth is more than anything else in this world… And I’m not saying to remove the intellect, but there are places in faith that have to go beyond intellect. But going beyond does not mean abandoning, but take it to it’ss fullest and then go further… But in the end we have to accept the Mystery, and the fact (hmm) that Truth is something that goes far beyond our intellect (or feelings)

You say that only the ‘Lucky ones’ are chosen to be saved, and the others not. Indeed, Christ called some disciples, but the ‘lucky ones’ who know Christ are not just saved for the sake of ‘being saved’, but to bring that salvation to the whole rest of creation. And what they had to share was not just mere ‘knowledge’, but the Way of life. (Christians were first called ‘people of the way’) The idea of secret knowledgde without application is alien to any non-Western human anyway…

Being ‘saved’ is being reconciled (yes, the bible speaks not only of getting saved as a point, but also of being saved as a process) to God, to ourselves, to our fellow humans and the rest of creation. That is the Kingdom of God Jesus announced, in which our human ideas of Power and domination are reversed. The cross, a low and even obscene death in which evil, sin, and death were defeated is also an example of this. Not by power but by self-giving. If Jesus is the ‘human translation’ of the Unknowable source of all things to us, and the idea is that He must be proclaimed to the whole of creation, then there’s no secret message at all. At least, it is intended to be heard by everyone… And in the end it will be heard by everyone, when in the New Heaven and the New Earth everything evil will be no more, and all will be made whole again and reconciled with Him.

To “not believe” makes you reject that reconciliation with the Source of all life… You don’t want it, and so you won’t get it. That why they ‘are already condemned’. Jesus did not come to condemn them, but to save them. The wages of sin (missing the mark, doing what’s wrong,…) are death, not becuse God punishes us with death for it, but because it naturally leads to death. We become cut off from the Source of all life, and we might become something that is not able to stand the Light and Holiness of Gods undiluted presence.

I guess this explanation also shows us the impotence of a lot of christianity: it is indeed reduced to ‘secret knowledge’ one has to believe in to ‘be saved’, but that does not at all transform people, does not fill them with self-giving love and a life reconciled to God and all of creation, that does not bring on a breaking in of the Kingdom of God into this present time… Which is a sad thing. I don’t know who ever said that we are vaccinating the world with a lifeless version of Christianity, and sometimes I’m affraid that’s painfully true…

So, what do you think of my wording? Where am I off? What am I missing? Or am I just a heretic? Does it make sense at all?

shalom

Bram

the vision (Pete Greig)


This comes from the book ‘Red moon rising’ by Pete Greig. I really like the 24-7 prayer movement and their of ‘new monasticism’.  I’ve been thinking lately about my pentecostel roots, new Movements of the Spirit, and the connection with the Whole of the Big Tradition of Christianity.  I think we need both, and that’s what I like about this kind of movements. The 24-7 prayer movement is rooted in the hernhutters, but also draws inspiration sometimes from monastic traditions far from protestantism.  Something I like and something I think we need. More and more I really believe that we are one Church, and that Jesus will come back for a bride and not a harem.

a vision like this one thus will only be a temporary expression in a certain time and space; but there’s something in it that point to the ageless and trancending plan of God, and the Kingdom Jesus established!

So this guy comes up to me and says “what’s the vision? What’s the big idea?” I open my mouth and words come out like this…
The vision?

The vision is JESUS – obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus.

The vision is an army of young people.

You see bones? I see an army. And they are FREE from materialism.

They laugh at 9-5 little prisons.
They could eat caviar on Monday and crusts on Tuesday.
They wouldn’t even notice.
They know the meaning of the Matrix, the way the west was won.
They are mobile like the wind, they belong to the nations. They need no passport.. People write their addresses in pencil and wonder at their strange existence.
They are free yet they are slaves of the hurting and dirty and dying.
What is the vision ?
The vision is holiness that hurts the eyes. It makes children laugh and adults angry. It gave up the game of minimum integrity long ago to reach for the stars. It scorns the good and strains for the best. It is dangerously pure.

Light flickers from every secret motive, every private conversation.
It loves people away from their suicide leaps, their Satan games.
This is an army that will lay down its life for the cause.
A million times a day its soldiers

choose to loose
that they might one day win
the great ‘Well done’ of faithful sons and daughters.

Such heroes are as radical on Monday morning as Sunday night. They don’t need fame from names. Instead they grin quietly upwards and hear the crowds chanting again and again: “COME ON!”

And this is the sound of the underground
The whisper of history in the making
Foundations shaking
Revolutionaries dreaming once again
Mystery is scheming in whispers
Conspiracy is breathing…
This is the sound of the underground

And the army is discipl(in)ed.

Young people who beat their bodies into submission.

Every soldier would take a bullet for his comrade at arms.
The tattoo on their back boasts “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain”.

Sacrifice fuels the fire of victory in their upward eyes. Winners. Martyrs. Who can stop them ?
Can hormones hold them back?
Can failure succeed? Can fear scare them or death kill them ?

And the generation prays

like a dying man
with groans beyond talking,
with warrior cries, sulphuric tears and
with great barrow loads of laughter!
Waiting. Watching: 24 – 7 – 365.

Whatever it takes they will give: Breaking the rules. Shaking mediocrity from its cosy little hide. Laying down their rights and their precious little wrongs, laughing at labels, fasting essentials. The advertisers cannot mould them. Hollywood cannot hold them. Peer-pressure is powerless to shake their resolve at late night parties before the cockerel cries.

They are incredibly cool, dangerously attractive

inside.

On the outside? They hardly care. They wear clothes like costumes to communicate and celebrate but never to hide.
Would they surrender their image or their popularity?
They would lay down their very lives – swap seats with the man on death row – guilty as hell. A throne for an electric chair.

With blood and sweat and many tears, with sleepless nights and fruitless days,

they pray as if it all depends on God and live as if it all depends on them.

Their DNA chooses JESUS. (He breathes out, they breathe in.)
Their subconscious sings. They had a blood transfusion with Jesus.
Their words make demons scream in shopping centres.
Don’t you hear them coming?
Herald the weirdo’s! Summon the losers and the freaks. Here come the frightened and forgotten with fire in their eyes. They walk tall and trees applaud, skyscrapers bow, mountains are dwarfed by these children of another dimension. Their prayers summon the hounds of heaven and invoke the ancient dream of Eden.

And this vision will be. It will come to pass; it will come easily; it will come soon.
How do I know? Because this is the longing of creation itself, the groaning of the Spirit, the very dream of God. My tomorrow is his today. My distant hope is his 3D. And my feeble, whispered, faithless prayer invokes a thunderous, resounding, bone-shaking great ‘Amen!’ from countless angels, from hero’s of the faith, from Christ Himself. And He is the original dreamer, the ultimate winner.

What do you people think of this vision? Some things make me ask questions, others seem like a calling for specific people, not the whole church.

But overall it has something that makes me long for more of the Kongdom of God. Much more. And less of the distractions of this world, mammon and consumption…

shalom

Bram

The music of the third eagle of the apocalypse, AKA the co-prophet of the end times.


It’s hot as hell over here. Exactly on the first day of school (september 1st) the summer finally began… Life is full of irony, and the climate has been acting weird lately.

Time for something else, like a musical interlude. Some people might know that I’m interested in outsider music and other weird stuff. My favorites are Daniel Johnston and the Shaggs, but the rise of the internet gives everybody the chance to make their art known to the world, which gives every weirdo (including me) a platform as big as the planet…

Most of those people who want their ‘5 minutes of fame’ are not that interesting… Even if you like ‘wrong music’, you know that there’s not a lot of really extraordinary stuff out there….

One of the weirdest things I know is a guy called William Tapley, also known as ‘the third eagle of the apocalypse’, or ‘the co-prophet of the endtimes’.  I think he could be considered as a ‘false teacher’, with a lot of end-times fearmongering, and a weird catholic form of pop-dispensational eschatology. He seems to have quite an audience on his youtube channel, but I suppose people just watch it because they find him a funny loser. Actually it’s a bit sad. His most famous bit of preaching tell us that you will miss the rapture if you use condoms (really!!!)

Most of his video’s are filled with his strange ‘preachings’, but from time to time he makes a music video.  And those music video’s are unique. Not because the instrumentation (a keyboard and  a drumcomputer) nor for his singing qualities (which do fit well with certain lofi and antifolk acts) but just the way he puts really scary endtime poetry to catchy cheerful tunes.  I’ve never heard or seem something quite like this….

The first song is called ‘doom and gloom’, classic stuff:

The second one, titled ‘It’s prophecied (end times anthem)’  is even better, about Obama as the leopard-king, and the frying of the Whore Babylon:

The third one, freedom is not free’, written for the American independence day,  is kinda dissapointing, unless you’re an American patriot I guess:

And the moest recent one ‘The ballad of comet Elenin’ is not as good as the old classics. Is he  going commercial and crossing over to secular conspiracy nonsense? It’s always sad to see our indie darlings go commercial, and to see our Christian acts go secular….

so, what do you people think?

enjoy!

Bram