Category Archives: Jesus

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

THIS INFORMATION HAS CHANGED!!!

HERE’S THE CORRECT INFO:

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)

Every week on Sun

Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.

Weekly: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/tZEvcemhpzgqEtUqdgcnU4z6cIFBfxxTQ5-L/ics?icsToken=98tyKuGtrD0qE92WsBGGRpwMAI_oc_PxmHZfj7dojRviAC5mNhmgNctkELRnCOzh

Join Zoom Meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85260993081?pwd=aDM1NnI0dzh4ZlI2Ykx1VEtwQk1WUT09

Meeting ID: 852 6099 3081

Passcode: 847165

One tap mobile

+13017158592,,85260993081# US (Germantown)

+13126266799,,85260993081# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location

        +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)

        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

        +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)

Meeting ID: 852 6099 3081

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbPKAXA5r3

Feel free to invite others. We can have up to 100 people in this Zoom configuration

If you feel led to help us financially, there are donate buttons on both the YouTube and blog sites. Donations are tax deductible. 

Blessings,

Pastor Larry

THESE STUDIES study videos are all posted on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/drlarrytaylor   
Audio studies are available on my blog: 
http://drlarrytaylor.com


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. 

I wish I had been more of a hippie

I wish I had been more of a hippie. 

It’s true I was committed to the anti-war movement. I registered for the draft as a religious conscientious objector, opposing all war on the grounds that following Jesus meant loving, not killing, your enemies.  From the sidelines of Baltimore lower middle working-class row-home whiteness, I cheered on the civil rights movement. I read Rootsand the Autobiography of Malcolm X. I nodded in agreement when the latter said, “It is impossible for a white person to believe in capitalism and not believe in racism.” 

In high school, I tutored inner city kids whose outer ears had been chewed off by rats and who had permeant brain damage from eating lead-based paint chips off widow sills. I saw first hand poverty and racism. Like many teens in the late 1960s, I longed for universal peace and justice. 

Politics seemed hopeless. Nixon. War on drugs – really a war on black youth – a scheme to imprison a generation and ensure generational family dysfunction and poverty. 

Baltimore became a warzone after Martin Luther King was murdered. 4:00 PM curfew. Armored personnel carriers rolling down our street. Makeshift jails. Sandbag trenches. National guard. Active duty troops. Shoot on sight. This time, the fire. 

Black Panthers. Weather Underground. Bombs. Guns. It seemed counterproductive at best – understandable, but deeply contrary to my commitment to the nonviolent way of Jesus.

Then came Timothy Leary. If everyone would just drop acid, the collective human consciousness would expand, universal peace would emerge. On top of that, soon the moon would be in the Seventh House and Jupiter would align with Mars. Love would steer the stars.

I never did any drugs – too afraid of what they’d do to me. My friends who did were not doing them to get high. They were taking LSD to save the world. Yes, we really did believe that.

Before long, however, it became more about trafficking drugs and making money. And the poverty was still there. As was the racism. Rich men kept making wars. Disillusionment. Timothy Leary faded. The Beatles broke up. 

Ah, but then came Jesus! Hippies turned Jesus Freaks. The drugs were tossed away – replaced by genuine love, service, and harmony. All I longed for – universal peace, an end to war, an end to racism, genuine community, altruistic love, acceptance, meaning, purpose – it was all either there or promised in Jesus. 

Gradually, I lost my way. I never stopped believing. Never stopped trying to follow Jesus. Certainly never stopped loving God.

But our whole movement was coöpted. Like many, I embraced a flattened woodenly literalistic Bible. War and capital punishment became causes to cheer rather than eschew. Poverty was the fault of the poor. America was the greatest nation ever. Native Americans were pagans. The founding fathers were devout Christians. Science was willfully ignorant – the universe popped into existence fully formed during a period of 144 hours 6,000 years ago.  AIDS was judgment for sin. Two sins were so hideous, so much more sinful than any others that they were bringing down the world’s last and greatest hope – abortion and homosexuality. (Conveniently, they were two things I was never likely to do.)

Like many who were coöpted, I had no idea that the religious right was born in opposition not to abortion, but to segregated Christian schools losing their tax-exempt status. I had no idea that Republican strategists were purposely wooing white evangelicals, not for their cause, but for their votes.  

I drank the Kool-Aid. 

Little by little, I awakened, as if from a long coma.

Many of the most spiritual people I’d ever seen were African-American. They voted for Democrats. Were they all deceived? 

Why did my so many of my Republican acquaintances care so little about poverty and injustice?

As Christians, how could we justify destroying the environment?

Did God create the world in 6 days but make it look like billions of years to deceive people?  

Some of the godliest people I knew were gays and lesbians. They loved Jesus. It seemed like they loved Jesus more than I did.

Why were we supporting a right-wing Israeli government that half the Israelis didn’t support? 

Why were we opposing Palestinian Arabs, many of whom are Christian?

Would Jesus cheer for bombings? 

Did Jesus have split personality – kind and loving the first time around; a warlord the next?

Did God really order genocide, or is God really like Jesus?

Why was I pretending that there are no contradictions in the Bible?

How had I become so judgmental, angry and hateful?

Why was I listening to arrogant talking heads?

Brilliant Christian biologists fully embrace evolution. Are they deceived? 

What happened to the compassion I felt for the poor, the broken, the displaced, the sick, addicted and mentally ill? 

I’ve come full circle, back to the Jesus Freaks, back to the lovers of nature, back to the ranks of those opposed to war and longing for justice. I’ve come back to compassion. I’ve come back to Jesus. My first love. 

The Greatest Thing of All: 1 Corinthians 13

Hope for all of Creation: Ezekiel 40-48

%d bloggers like this: