Category Archives: anabaptist

The Handwriting’s on the Wall — Daniel 5

For you alone

Nam soli Deo speravit anima mea in silentio

He was a very elderly man in his early 40s, sitting so still even the deer did not notice, although the red-tailed hawk had him in her sights. 

Sitting on the now branchless trunk of a long ago fallen elm tree that must have remembered some of what he remembered.

Rugged and battered grizzled sophistication, lip swollen, still bleeding from the mugging in which he lost most everything except that which mattered.

The log of repose rested eternally on the edge of a wood that sloped away from the winding dirt road down towards a creek below where frogs could dance and sing harsh lullabies of prognostication.

To say the road was sparsely traveled would be an understatement. One or two passersby a day at most.

Like the bangers who took his wallet. 

Like the occasional merchant plodding along with his cart, unaware of anything but the steady rhythm of hooves.

Like the kerchiefed woman, infant on her breast, basket of vegetables balanced on her head.

A specter drifted by on the breeze. Stately, stunning, robed in the stellar heavens, moonlight glowing from her face, long black hair drifting behind – she alone smiled at him, but did not stop.

To the cadence of the snare they marched past him to the battlefront where their lives would be wasted but mythologized. 

Herald on his horse, racing, stirring up the dust, horse panting and sweating, determined to arrive nowhere with nothing to say. 

Ragged children, happy in spite of faces smeared with dirt and empty stomachs, skipping into grudging survival mode.

Prancing steeds, gold-studded carriage, curtains drawn to preserve the falsehood.

Coachman, footmen, imagining superiority.

Giggles of gaiety, forbidden whispers, bantering maidens skipping happily to early graves.

Silently, the old man watched each go by, observing with awareness-awakened sadness.

No one stopped. No one spoke. 

Which was fine with him.

He took some hardtack from his rucksack and washed it down with stiff cold coffee from a pitted canteen. 

The sun was warm but waning – the breeze fresh and zephyr-like gentle. Clouds slowly morphed into fantastic shapes of unicorns and Qilin. 

The old man leaned back against a maple tree whose leaves had only just begun to blaze with reds and oranges. A wolf howled in the far distance.

He had lived a hundred years before his 40thbirthday.

Now it was time to wait.

The ragged stranger shod in worn sandals and threadbare robe, matted dreadlocks, tangled beard, paused, smiled at him in spite of missing teeth. 

The old man gestured and the stranger sat next to him on the elm log. 

Two wrens sang their exultant song back and forth to each other, each taking a verse, both joining the chorus. 

The red-tailed hawk pierced the sky, announcing approval from on high. 

The rugged ragged ageless stranger took flatbread from his pouch, broke it, and together, in silence, they ate.

Still silent, they passed the wineskin back and forth.

And all was made whole. 

Beneficial Insanity: Daniel 4

OF DREAMS & EMPIRES: DANIEL 2

Four Faithful Lads: Daniel 1

Join us for a live study in Daniel

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Larry Taylor is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Bible Study with Larry & Kathy Taylor

Time: Nov 8, 2020 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Blessings,

Pastor Larry

THESE STUDIES study videos are all posted on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/drlarrytaylor   
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Political Issues

A number of issues confront voters in the United States today.

Personal one-liner comments on some of them:

  • Poverty: God cares deeply for the poor, the marginalized, the disenfranchised, and the displaced, and calls us to do all we can do to alleviate poverty.
  • Systemic Racism: The Gospel is fundamentally opposed to any form of racism. Racism is embedded in virtually all our institutions. Christians need to work to eradicate racism at all levels. 
  • Original national sins – genocide of Native people & enslavement of Africans:As a nation, we need to officially repent and right the wrongs via restorative justice. 
  • Mental health, including addictions and suicide in vets and teens: Mental health issues, including addictions, are killing American veterans, American teenagers, and those in poverty, both in the inner cities and in the rural countryside. Again, as followers of Jesus, we should be supporting programs to prevent suicide, heal mental illness, and bring recovery to addicts.
  • Access to medical care for everyone: God is all about life. I am strongly pro-life, which includes promoting free national high quality accessible healthcare for all. Tying healthcare to employment is absurd. 
  • Food deserts: Many people do not have access to healthful foods. Everyone should.
  • Creation care is a huge issue – it is the first task God gave to humanity. Christians should be greener than green, leading the way in caring for our environment, moving us beyond fossil fuels and artificial substances. Deep concern for human-caused global climate change should characterize us.
  • Abortion: As I said, I am pro-life, but the way to lower and maybe eliminate abortions is not through coercion, laws, or threats. 25% of American women have had abortions. Are we really ready to declare them all murderers? It is hearts we need to win. Our focus should be on adoption, healthcare, and poverty. Our number one job is to love. 
  • Immigration Policy: God calls us clearly to welcome and care for the alien and the stranger, not wall them out, separate families, or ship people back to probable death. 
  • Cabinet appointments: Not really a biblical issue other than all those in government should be honest, of good character, experts in their fields, and seeking the good of all. 
  • Judicial appointments: see above
  • Character of candidates: see above
  • Economy: An economy needs to benefit everyone, not just an elite few. Unregulated capitalism is based on greed. It worships Mammon. 
  • Fair and equal treatment of all: Amen
  • Freedom of religion: This phrase has become code for denying equal rights to others, as in, if I own a business and don’t want to serve African–Americans, or Native people, or the LGBTQ community, I don’t have to. True freedom of religion separates church and state. 
  • Freedom of speech: I’m all for it as long as it is peaceful.
  • Gun ownership: Jesus said to love your enemies and not resist evil people. Jesus’ love is cruciform love. I’m in favor of turning all weapons into garden tools. It seems absurd to me that a person has to have license to drive a car but not to stockpile military grade weapons.
  • Law and order: Nixon-era code for oppressing black people, mass incarceration, and ensuring white dominance. 
  • Black Lives Matter: No one suggests other lives do not matter – the phrase means black lives should matter also. Responding to BLM with “all lives matter,” or, “blue lives matter,” is like having a house on fire in your neighborhood and protesting to the firefighters “all houses matter.” Of course they do, but only one is on fire. BLM is nonviolent and is calling us to stop police brutality, profiling, and discrimination.
  • Defund the Police: An unfortunate phrase. No politician would come close to getting rid of police forces. What is being called for is a shift in priorities – less money militarizing police and more to alleviate poverty, for example. 
  • Military strength and policy: The US spends almost a trillion dollars a year on national security, more than the next ten nations combined (including Russia and China). We have the ability to kill every child, woman, and man on the face of the earth 15 times and eradicate all biological life. None of that sounds like the Sermon on the Mount.
  • Peace among nations will only come when we care about other nations and use our wealth to help lift others out of poverty and chaos.
  • Sanctuary cities are a great idea, although I think we need a sanctuary country, as in the Statue of Liberty
  • Social Security is all that keeps massive numbers of older Americans from being homeless. 
  • Covid-19 pandemic response has been dismal, in fact, the worst in the entire world, which is why the US leads in cases and deaths. Our leaders lied to us and minimized a lethal threat. They have blood on their heads. 

On Tuesday, I am voting for the poor, the hungry, the mentally ill, the broken, the refugee, the homeless, the sick, and the incarcerated – those Jesus called “the least of these my sisters and brothers” in Matthew 25. 

America Deserves Donald Trump

PRIDE GOES BEFORE DESTRUCTION AND

A HAUGHTY SPIRIT BEFORE A FALL

(Proverbs 16:18)

Years ago, I listened to conservative talk radio for 2 hours every day while I was working out.

One day I realized how arrogant the speaker was.

One day I realized how unchristlike I was becoming.

The greatest of all virtues is altruistic love.

The greatest of all sins is pride, vainglory, superciliousness, narcissism.

An archaic Electoral College enabled a significant minority of voters to elect Donald Trump President of the United States of America in 2016.

His only qualification was that of a reality TV star. 

He came with a history of:

  • Pompous haughtiness
  • Distain for the weak
  • Racism
  • Shady manipulative business dealings
  • Multiple marriages
  • Multiple bankruptcies
  • Cheating workers
  • Championing abortion
  • Serial adultery

He has:

  • Bragged about his multiple affairs
  • Been credibly accused of rape
  • Corrupted democracy
  • Abandoned allies
  • Aligned with dictators
  • Broken international treaties
  • Ruined America’s global reputation
  • Failed to protect Americans from a deadly virus that has caused a quarter million deaths (thus far) as well as economic chaos 
  • Proved to be a textbook example of pathological malignant narcissism
  • Displayed profound moral impairment

Since taking office, he repeatedly and consistently:

  • Denies scientific findings
  • Implements policies to ravage and despoil the environment
  • Shows repeated contempt for American ideals
  • Divides Americans
  • Selectively encourages voter suppression
  • Spreads tens of thousands of documented lies 
  • Mocks his religious supporters
  • Engages in illegal business dealings
  • Refuses to reveal his taxes
  • Engages in race-baiting
  • Displays cruelty
  • Is unswervingly rude
  • Is regularly vindictive
  • Provides comfort to propagators of racism and hate
  • Encourages terrorism
  • Encourages mob violence
  • Undermines governmental agencies
  • Enriches his own family through graft
  • Opposes free speech
  • Openly propagates conspiracy theories
  • Separates children from their families
  • Deports refugees fleeing violence and poverty
  • Advocates on behalf of Russia, a hostile foreign power
  • Exhibits overwhelming evidenced that he is mentally unstable

Massive coalitions of physicians, scientists, mental health professionals, historians, political scientists, environmentalists, community advocates, and ordinary citizens have called for his removal.

He is the worst, most corrupt, and most dangerous president in the history of the United States. The white evangelicals who have supported him made a Faustian bargain that destroyed their Christian witness and has driven millions away from Christianity.

Perhaps we deserve him.

America was founded on duel, intersecting original sins. We have never as a nation acknowledged or repented of those sins. When the root system is corrupt, the entire tree will bear rotten fruit. The demons of our past cry out to be exorcised.

One foundational evil: arrogant pride

Two foundational sins: stolen land and stolen people

Filled with the arrogance of racial superiority, Europeans invaded a land that had been occupied by viable native civilizations for 10,000 years.

Through genocide, shattered promises, and broken treaties, the native population was decimated and subdued, their land stolen.

Captured and kidnapped Africans were bought and sold, owned and abused – enslaved and forced to work the stolen land.

Stolen people working stolen land built a powerhouse global economy.

Judgment is simply the invariable result of sin.

Until America repents of its cruelty and oppression of Native and African Americans, judgment will fall.

But we do not repent of building a nation on stolen land with stolen people. We do not repent because we continue in the essential foundational evil, as evidenced by the fact that we put the most arrogant, self-centered person we can find in office, then wave flags on his behalf. 

The Greatest Thing of All: 1 Corinthians 13

Hope for all of Creation: Ezekiel 40-48

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