Bert Amsing I like this saying…very true….the problem is that most love, most of the time is not deep enough or strong enough or doesn’t last long enough….only the love of God can give us the strength to love always, to love anyway and to love our enemies…..only the love of God can overcome all circumstances, even sickness and death….the joy (and love) of God is my strength…..just saying. The Desert Warrior
TJ Sorry I disagree. I have seen the deepest and most compassionate love come from people of all and different faiths and people of no faith whatsoever. I have seen the most vile, evil cruelty and hate come from deeply reliigious people Christian, Hindu, Muslim, etc. Decency and compassion requires ethics and morals NOT religion. If it is done in the name of religion good for that person, but it is not a requirement.
Bert Amsing Interesting thought Tammy….however…..I never mentioned religion…..I was talking about God…not people….your point proves my point…..people (by themselves) are often vile, evil and cruel as you say…..some people (religious or not) are full of love…..good point….what makes the difference? Why are some people full of love and others full of hate…regardless of religion….is it simply a decision? You know better than that…..your original quote says it all….when we are loved, we are able to love…..the human condition is screwed up because there isnt enough love, for long enough, to everyone (regardless of whether they hate you or not…which is usually the definition for being an enemy)…..it’s called Attachment Theory and basically it says that if you did not receive love, it is difficult to express love…..true….but where does decision come in…..do you, Tammy, love the religious vile, evil, cruel haters out there? Is your love strong enough, deep enough to overcome the hate, the cruelty of the world? That is the question of the ages….all philosophers from all religions will tell you that love is the answer….but that isn/t the question….obviously, love is the answer….the question is why is our love (even the love of the good guys who received love as children) why is our love not deep enough or strong enough to give us the courage to love the haters, the vile, the cruel even while they continue to be hateful, vile and cruel….the Bible says that God loved us even while we were still his enemies….he loved the prostitutes, the sinners, the tax collectors, the outcast, the sick…..his only requirement was humility….the recognition of our need for his love….when we recognize our desperate need for God…
TJ God is not needed. If a person feels a need for a God then all the power to them. To insist that a God is needed is naive and abusive. You have a right to believe as you wish. You do not have any right to force your beliefs on anyone else. Religion/God is like a penis. You can be proud of it, but if you start waving it up in my face we are going to have a problem.
Bert Amsing Wow, that is agressive….someone must have really hurt you….I am sorry…..I am neither naive nor abusive and I am not forcing my beliefs on anyone…just sharing some thoughts on facebook….but, to be truthful, I am not feeling that deep, strong love that you say you have for those who disagree with you….and I don-t blame you…..not easy to love those you disagree with….which is why there are fights, terrorism, hate, spite, vile, cruel people in the world…they don’t think that they are cruel….they simply disagree with your way of looking at the world and often feel threatened….so they lash out at you because of a lack of commitment to the way of love….are you doing the same to me? Sorry to be so blunt….but you are proving the point….if you don’t want God/s help to love others or you have decided only to love those that agree with you or that you happen to like….then, certainly, your love is good enough for your purposes in your little world, but in the real world it needs a tougher, stronger source….love must become a virtue before it can become a solution….as a virtue it must be for everyone, always….who is up to that task on their own….once again, my apologies….I did not mean to offend. The Desert Warrior.
TJ Yeah, that is a very typical response from someone that likes to shove their religion at people who are in no way interested. Sort of like the JWs and Mormons that go knocking on the doors of strangers trying to get their God points to get into heaven. I do not believe in religion, or as you say God, because it is not necessary, not logical, and completely made up. You are totally free to believe as you wish and keep it to yourself and on your page. What you are doing is spamming.
Bert Amsing I don’t agree…but accept my apologies if I have offended you…..I don’t need God points just like I don’t need wife points….she loves me….he loves me….and it does give me strength and courage to love others. Thanks for listening…..Bert
CK Bert I’m glad you apologised-thank you. Saying that someone who is simply asserting that love doesn’t need a deity, relic, talisman, superficiality to exist doesn’t mean that she’s been hurt by someone, she’s not broken, or any less of a human than you or I. Disagreeing with you shouldn’t make you feel less loved (this by the way is passive aggressive behaviour that you are demonstrating). It doesn’t make Tammy deficient in any way or a victim to have her own beliefs and be solid in them – yes she’s direct and bold and it’s refreshing.
Bert Amsing hello Carmen, welcome to the discussion….let me also apologize to you if you thought that I was saying in any way that tammy was broken….or less of a wonderful person for her beliefs….but, let’s be honest here….it wasn’t her beliefs that I was referring to….but rather the aggressive nature of her comments….normally people don’t show such strong emotion about a topic without having an emotional history behind it….in addition, my apology is directed to the emotional situation not the intellectual one….your comments seem to be less emotional and you, apparently, agree with her intellectual position….good for you…..but I disagree….intellectually…..I hope that is alright…..athiesm is not taking over….in fact, it is back on its heals and having a hard time recovering from the onslaught of overwhelming evidence that evolutionary theory is just that….a theory…and that the Big Bang theory strongly suggests an intelligent, purposeful design of the universe….many atheists in the past 30 years have either become Christians or agnostics….check out my blogs at www.desertwarrior.net for more information. Sorry, but your position is about a generation too late….I like your last statement…science is the way forward….true for things like poverty, health care and the like…but for some strange reason….human nature seems to stay the same…greater technology seems to bring greater evil….love is always a choice but few people seem to take the road less traveled and love not just their neighbor but also their enemies….that’s the truth…..not a judgement…..everybody knows it….love is the answer but somehow we humans dont have enough of it to go around….or do you really think we do….not that we COULD but that we DO….not POTENTIAL…..ACTUAL LOVE….for those who hate your guts….what is your solution to that problem?…..would love to know. The Desert Warrior
Bert Amsing Why do you bring up the man/woman thing? Frankly, I am confused…..why is this not simply a disagreement of beliefs about the existence of God and his role in inspiring humans to greater efforts at love? You make it about a lot of other things…..I appreciate your position that it is assertiveness and not aggressive….I don’t agree but that is all right…..no problem…..thank you for a wonderful discussion. I truly hope that you experience the deep strong love that will give you the courage to give that same love to others, whether they deserve it or not, whether they love you back or not…at the end of the day….real love in the real world is what matters….if you think we can do it on our own, please be the first to demonstrate that truth in your own life….deeply love your enemies….and you will inspire me and others to do the same…..thank you for your committment to the greatest power on earth….the power of love as a virtue, for everyone, at all times, no matter who they are or whether they even deserve it….who of us, do? The Desert Warrior www.desertwarrior.net*****Here are a few things that I would have liked to say…..First of all, if someone posts something on my facebook, I assume that they are interested in a conversation. I certainly don’t mean to offend…..Secondly, last time I checked, Lao Tzu is not a Christian and yet he is the one we are discussing…..interesting. I truly like his reflection on love….the two key words are “strength” and “courage”. Love can give you strength because it meets your needs, it gives you security which frees you up from worrying or even thinking about yourself and your needs and allows you to love…..but love can still be risky….that’s why I like the second part as well….that love can give you courage…..the motivation to risk in the face of fear….nicely put….I think we all know that his comment is true…and many of us have experienced in some degree that kind of love from our family, friends and lover. My point was not that we don’t experience that love or that we are not capable of that love to some degree….my point is that we don’t love ENOUGH….enough to love our enemies….enough to love when we are not loved in return…..yes, it takes courage…..but the truth is that neither, I, nor anyone else, loves ENOUGH, neither deeply nor strongly nor long enough….Third, maybe….just maybe….God isn’t really happy with religious people who are cruel and vile and hurtful either……maybe God is as angry and upset and sick to his stomach with our lack of love for one another. I think that he has a special place in store for those who, on top of it, try to hide in his church, under his protection, while continuing to practice their evil….that kind of arrogance is sickening. I agree. Not that those people can’t be saved from themselves and the consequences of their evil….they can….if their arrogance becomes shame and humility and if that shame is nailed to the cross of Christ and transformed into love for God and others…..or do you know of another way to find the courage to forgive someone for being a pedofile or abusing your children or stealing your life’s savings……that kind of love isn’t possible without forgiveness and forgiveness isn’t possible for the evils of this world unless it has a strong foundation in justice as well as love…..throughout the history of the world, the cross has been the only force strong enough to act as the foundation for forgiveness…and therefore, love….Fourth, maybe….just maybe….if God is real…if He is there…if He is listening (or rather reading) this conversation….then maybe He considers it also arrogant for us to think that we have enough love to deal with the problems of this world without His help…..if we do, then why don’t we….our arrogance condemns us….And finally, a thought on the whole human condition as we live out our lives in the presence of the God who is there….“There is no greater embarassment in heaven or on earththan the arrogance of those who ought to be ashamed of themselves.Sadly, that applies to all of us.” The Desert WarriorWe like to think that we can handle things without God, that we can love enough without God, that we can be good enough without God……if so, then why is this world and our individual lives so full of hatred, cruelty and pettiness (not to talk about the real, daily terrorism that we inflict on each other). I have never found a single philosopher, thinker or religious leader that can explain how to get humans to love each other rather than hate each other. That’s the truth. The virtue of love is a rare bird….Of course, if God doesn’t exist….no problem….don’t worry about it….the little bits of love that we do manage to generate for our families, friends and loved ones…..is the best we have….in the face of the great evils that plague this world…..poverty, discrimination, religious bigots, pedofiles, crime, abuse, and the like…..frankly, that depresses me beyond words…..I no longer believe in the fantasy of my own goodness or the power of my own love to solve my own problems much less anyone else’s….Is my love enough? No. Only the love of God can save me and change me….“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son..” John 3:16That’s still the good news as far as I am concerned…..The Desert WarriorCopyright © 2013 by vanKregten Publishers. All rights reserved.
She had been playing with the new neighbor kids and she looked upset and frustrated as only an eight year old can. “They can’t go to hell,” she said. “I’m going to tell them about Jesus.” And with that she grabbed her NIV Discoverer’s Bible and put it under her arm and marched out.
Vero, my wife, turned to Melanie, our eleven year old, and said, “Do you think she realizes that her Bible is in English?” We live in Argentina and the neighbors, of course, speak Spanish.
When I heard about it the next day, I was full of curiosity. “What happened?” I asked my wife but she didn’t know. Maybe twenty minutes later she saw Michelle playing in the pool with the neighbor kids as if nothing had happened.
I would have given my right arm to be a fly on the wall when she walked into the neighbor’s house to tell them about Jesus. Was she going to talk to the kids or to the parents? I didn’t know but I bet God was wearing one of his biggest smiles that day.
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The Eight Year Old Evangelist by Bert A. Amsing. Used with permission.
Excerpt from Jesus was an Alien (and Other Stories of Faith) by Bert A. Amsing
Copyright © 2012 by vanKregten Publishers. All rights reserved.
What came first, the chicken or the egg. For Christians, obviously, the chicken. For evolutionists, the egg, or some “non-chicken” life development process based on chance mutations. Both are hard to believe but one is based on ultimate intelligence and one on ultimate chance. Normally, it´s not intelligent to bet on chance.
My problem is that we humans have never seen somthing come from nothing without an intelligent cause. Never. Not once. Maybe the creation of the world is different, but the Big Bang seems to rule that out. We did come from nothing, apparently.
Also, we have never seen order come from chaos (or chance) in this world without an intelligent cause. Never. Not once. And yet here we are living in an ordered universe and we have the intelligence to recognize it and appreciate it. I find that significant.
Until we have better scientific answers, I can choose to have faith that science will one day figure it out. Or I can take the intuitive leap of faith that takes a chance on intelligence rather than squander my intelligence on chance.
Is it risky? Yes, but at least it´s consistent with life as we know it. It isn´t mindless or unreasonable, but, yes, it is risky because once I open the door to the possibility of intelligence behind life as we know it, personality must also enter and I am faced with the existence of God.
Now the arguments for the existence of God and religion in general come into play. Now I have to sift through various religions all the while acknowledging that the philosophical, historical, scientific and literary evidence points clearly in one direction. Intelligence, creativity and design demands a self-aware personhood for God that excludes most Eastern religions. That demand is based once again on our own experience which excludes a non-personal intelligence (even computers) that acts with purpose.
Further study of the character and person of God leads to the Judeo-Christian God of the Old Testament. Only in that place is there a solution to the problem of man that is rooted in the necessary perfection of God (grace based on justice, not in spite of it). The Jews will give you law but only Christ will give you grace.
Yes, it is risky because once you let God exist, really exist, independent of your own ideas and approval, than you must ask a further question. What does He want…….with me?
If the chicken came before the egg, God exists. If God exists, it´s a game changer. He has something to say. He has a purpose. He has rights. I may have obligations, not just morally, but relationally. My whole world is at risk. My life has been turned upside down.
There is a new level of danger (or safety) that I need to understand and assess. I need to get to know Him and find out what He wants (especially with me). I need to understand his point of view on the world and on mankind (and me). What´s His agenda? What is His character like? If he is just (He would have to be, wouldn´t He?), am I in trouble? What is His standard? Can I live up to it? How will I know? Has He spoken? Has he done anything? Will He do something to me?
I suppose, then, that eternity is a real possibility as well. Does that mean I have to be concerned now about later? If so, why? Why can´t I wait for confirmation that God exists with my own eyes? Why does He insist that I turn to Him in faith, not by sight? Why does he remain hidden? If I see Him as He truly is, in all of His glory, will my fear overwhelm me and leave no room for love? Will I be so concerned for my safety in the light of the obvious danger to my eternal soul that any possibility for a voluntary, uncoerced love will disappear?
Did He really have to die on a cross to save me? Isn´t that a bit extreme? Am I really so bad? Can´t love just overlook our imperfections? Why is He also a just God? Is justice really so necessary and so strict? Or would that make Him arbitrary, capricious and self-serving? Would that make Him, in fact, the Devil? God forbid.
Why must love fulfill justice rather than simply overlook faults? Does it give significance to moral choices and value to the people who are hurt every day by those choices?
The more I ask these questions, the more sense it makes and the more questions it raises. But there is a direction. It is intelligent, rational and true to life.
The problem is that I may not like the answers I get. I may come to some conclusions about myself that will break my self-confidence, destroy my self-image or diminish my sense of self-value. Why must I be destroyed by the perspective of eternity to find life in a new relationship with God?
Where is my intrinsic value as a human being? Is that value in my abilities, my self-awareness, my humanity or is it in a primal, necessary relationship with my Creator first of all? Is my nature relational? Is my identity rooted in my nature? Is my purpose dependent on a higher, larger purpose? Is my significance related to my role in life? Is the meaning of my life determined by what I do with the truth rather than with circumstances?
Am I asking too many questions, the right questions, or questions that have no answers if this proposed Diety does not show up and act, speak, and empower.
I suspect that He must be involved in this world in deep and significant ways. He is the unified field theory of science. He is the ultimate reality we all look for and, yet, fear.
If He is there, and I suspect that He is, then He will also answer these very questions if they are heartfelt and searched out and thought through on the basis of His perspective on life. He must be involved. His opinion counts. My opinions and interpretations of life must bow the knee to His truth, his intimate knowledge of me and of mankind, of the past, the future, of all things and His goodness, his character, his behaviour, his intentions. In that place of humility, questions can be asked and answers will be given.
Only then, will the truth set me free.
The Desert Warrior
Reflections by Bert A. Amsing.
Copyright © 2012 by vanKregten Publishers. All rights reserved.
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Welcome to Desert Warrior Ministries Blog! This is our very first post. We will be offering previews of short stories, eDevotionals, book projects and DW events. Your feedback and comments are important. Become part of the Desert Warrior Network and learn to grow in your faith together with us.
Bert A. Amsing (M.Div., Calvin Theological Seminary) is the co-founder of Desert Warrior Ministries together with his wife, Veronica. They share a life ministry of encouragement, prayer and service in Spanish and English through writing/speaking and drawing/painting. He has written a book called Jesus was an Alien (and Other Stories of Faith). He has also written The Temptations of the Cross (A Novel) and has begun a series called The Desert Warrior. www.desertwarrior.net
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