Every Person a God = Every Day a Conflict

Photo by Jeff Williams – morgueFile

Maryland blue crabs are crazy, ravenous creatures! Throw anything that resembles food into the water and they swarm to the location, consuming what they can while jostling for position. In their eyes, they are the bottom lineNumero Uno. No one else matters. And when threatened in any way, those pain-inflicting pinchers aggressively come up in defense. It makes perfect sense that the word “crab” is synonymous for mean and crotchety.

The thing about crabs is that they don’t get along especially well with one another. If you happen to see locals out catching crabs, you’ll notice that they often use bushel baskets. After catching more than one ornery crustacean, they don’t worry about putting the lid back on the basket, even though the last thing they want is for a crab to latch on to their toes. Every time that a crab tries to climb out of that basket, you can be sure than another will pull it back in.

Any crab with a brain would conspire with the others to work out an escape plan. They’d need only to allow one to reach the rim of the basket, giving a slight heave ho to help the others out. And the crabbers? Their feet would soon be mincemeat! It won’t happen, of course, because crabs don’t grasp the concepts of honoring others or seeking the common good. Every crab is its own god.

When Adam and Eve fell prey to the zombie conspiracy by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were looking after their own interests. When they attempted to redirect blame for their own actions, they were putting themselves first. When they hid in the shadows in shame, neither was concerned about the welfare of the other. Desiring to be like God apart from God is all about looking out for Number One—i.e. self-deification.

Photo by joncandy – CC BY-SA 2.0

In spite of claims to the contrary, there can only be one Number One. Fans will always prefer a sudden death playoff over co-champions. A tie is never sufficient, for glory and power are not easily shared. That’s just the way it is.

When each living human seeks to be the center of the universe, conflict is the result. When each living human seeks to control his/her own life and the lives of others, conflict is the result. When each living human climbs higher in a personal quest for glory above all others, you guessed it, conflict is the result. As these things happen on the playing field, we call it entertainment. It is nothing short of tragic, however, when real life is marred by discord and violence.

Photo by public.resource.org – CC BY 2.0

We may sound a universal cry for peace, but it will never happen without violating someone’s free will, for the will never ceases to lift itself above all others. In a world where every person is a god you can be sure that every day will carry a conflict. Increasing measures of narcissism (self-deification) in our cultures means increased contention. As a result, the only way to enable people to get along is by passing more laws in an attempt to govern outward behavior.

Only the true Gospel of Jesus Christ can truly free us from our narcissistic tendencies without destroying our freedom in the process. A humanistic gospel, on the other hand, will be characterized by anti-virtues such as elitism, control, and contention; making life just plain crabby.

Personally, I have tasted the peace of the Gospel and I can’t help but find myself longing for more.

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How to Catch a Crustacean

Original Photo by Kevin Connors – morgueFile

Are you a fan of lobster? It is without question a delicacy in many parts of the world, but such hasn’t always been the case. Early settlers to New England found lobsters to be so plentiful that at times they could wade into the ocean and capture them by hand. An overabundance of lobsters actually served as a common staple for prisoners. Can you imagine a law in which New World colonies restricted the number of times per week a penal institution could feed lobster to its inmates? Prisoners could be heard making statements such as, “It’s horrible in here! All we get to eat are these stinkin’ lobsters!” Of course, things are much different today; with an amazing increase in transportation and a bit of skillful marketing, lobster has essentially become the steak of seafood.

Interestingly, lobsters are negligibly senescent, meaning that they don’t show the normal symptoms of aging seen in the majority of life forms. No dimming eyesight, loose antennae or creaky claws for these guys. If not for the pleasure to our palates and the benefit to our stomachs, a lobster might live for 100 years or more. The primary downfall for the lobster, it seems, is the lobster trap.

Photo by Hartmut Inerle – CC BY-SA 3.0

A working lobster trap consists of three main parts: a combination wooden and wire frame, a rope and buoy to mark the location and bait (i.e. something that appeals to a lobster’s tastes). Mr. or Mrs. Lobster smells dead fish (or some other convenient bait) and is drawn to investigate. Access to the trap is easy as the oblivious victim races toward an easy dinner. Once the pleasant meal is consumed, however, life becomes rather unpleasant as the design of the trap turns freedom into a distant memory.

When Lucifer launched his zombie conspiracy we can image he spent considerable time designing a trap that would be effective in capturing and binding the human race. Humans are smart you know, so he had to get it right the first time. Any stupid mistakes and the opportunity to open Pandora’s Box could be lost forever.

More cunning than The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, old slewfoot determined that the most effective bait would be the very same temptation that led to his precipitous fall from glory—the desire to be as God; or more appropriately put—the desire to be like God apart from God. And the plan worked, perhaps beyond even his twisted imaginations. In eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, humanity found itself not only separated from God, but also under the devil’s crooked thumb, entrapped by a power called Sin from which no human could ever escape (or so Lucifer thought).

Thus began what we call the human condition. Upon the once peace-filled and pleasurable Garden of Eden, pain, suffering, violence and death descended like darkness—the full scope of which is yet to be seen.

Photo by Miles Teg – CC BY-SA 3.0

Christ came to deliver us from the zombie conspiracy, not only freeing us from the trap of sin, but systematically working to eliminate the three tentacles of the temptation (self-centeredness, self-sovereignty and self-glorification) that captured us in the first place. For us to experientially know true and lasting freedom, it is imperative that each of those ensnaring tentacles be thoroughly severed from our hearts.

Humans were intended to be non-senescent–unaffected by time or age. But unfortunately for us, separation from God unleashed torrents of death. If only we can get back to abiding in God’s grace, no power in hell will be able to squelch the power of the life He imparts!

Era of the Living Dead

Evans City Cemetery – Photo by Willjay – CC BY-SA 3.0

The film begins with Barbra and Johnny visiting their father’s grave in rural Pennsylvania. Barbra is afraid to be in a cemetery at such a late hour. Johnny teases her, as any brother would, totally unaware that a zombie–a reanimated corpse–is about to knock him unconscious against a headstone. The rest is history. Night of the Living Dead proceeded to become one of the most revolutionary horror films of all time.

Until Night of the Living Dead came on the scene, horror movies were mostly innocuous—nobody took them seriously. But genuine fear dripped from the frames of this particular flick. Parents who naively took their kids to the theater reeled with regret as their unnerved children squirmed in genuine horror.

Exactly what was so scary about Night of the Living Dead? I think perhaps it was the sense that the evil inescapably was us. It is one thing when evil is out there, or when monsters can easily be identified as alien creatures from planet X. But the potential (and fear) for us and our loved ones to become the source of evil is a game changer.

Fear and death have always been closely linked. The potential for death, or loss, powerfully grips the human heart with various forms of fear–especially anxiety. It all points to a zombie-like existence in which we find ourselves longing for life, but beset by fear; for fear in and of itself is a form of death.

The intent of Lucifer’s zombie conspiracy was to usher fear and death into a world once defined by peace and life. The plan worked to the point that death and fear now characterize unredeemed humanity.

Many centuries before Night of the Living Dead was filmed in Evans City, Pennsylvania, the Apostle Paul wrote of another sort of living dead. In speaking of widows he stated, “But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives” (1 Timothy 5:6). Imagine that, a seemingly harmless widow proclaimed to be a sort of zombie long before film was ever conceived. Now that’s truly scary!

Photo by Joe Shalbotnik – CC BY 2.0

Paul’s words remind me of a lobster pound a traveler might find along the coast of Maine. Right there, in full view for patrons to see, is an open tank with live lobsters crawling around. I mean, technically they are alive, but in a greater sense those lobsters are already dead. They repeatedly circle the tank (what else is there to do?), their once powerful pinchers banded shut as they jostle for meaningless advantage. The finality of death is inevitable, and unless a savior of sorts purchases those crustaceans and releases them into the ocean, it is only a matter of time until they are boiling in a pot and then lying on a plate.

Since Lucifer initiated the zombie conspiracy, death and fear have continued to hold captive the general population of the human race. Like the lobsters in the tank, like the widows of 1 Timothy 5:6, ours is the Era of the Living Dead. Powerless, hopeless, and beset with fear, we scurry about, jostling for meaningless advantage, pursuing only momentary pleasures; doing what we can to forget about the giant hand of death that will, in its season, tear us from the only world we’ve ever known.

If this all sounds very morbid and repulsive, that is only because it is very morbid and repulsive. The Gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t simply a nice, optional message. The Gospel is our only genuine hope.

Photo by Ted Van Pelt – CC BY 2.0

the zombie conspiracy

“Night of the Living Dead” by George A. Romero – Public Domain

Zombie movies. Vampire films. Crime shows. Violent video games. What’s the common thread? It appears that our culture is increasingly preoccupied with death. Somehow, I don’t think this is a good sign.

There are those who would tell us that the real zombie conspiracy involves government authorities covering up the coming zombie apocalypse, but I beg to differ. My concern is with the seeds of death that have been planted in the hearts of people who deep down inside desire life.

This current resurgence of our illogical fascination with death is but another rotten bite of the fruit from the proverbial apple. The serpent’s goal was to separate mankind from God, the one true source of life. Separation from life propels humanity in only one real direction—toward death. Not only did the human race die spiritually, not only do we die physically, but death becomes an unhealthy preoccupation.

Over the next several posts I’m going to explore the zombie conspiracy and its far reaching impact upon the human race. By recognizing the plan of death we are better able to orient ourselves to the true life of God.

Photo by Eitan f – Public Domain

Two trees grew in the center of the Garden of Eden—the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That there were two trees rather than one speaks loudly of the importance of freedom and choice in our relationship with God. But love wasn’t the only reason those trees were there. For God to create a truly harmonious society, an essential issue had to be dealt with: God is so amazing that all who look upon Him are tempted by the desire to be Him.

It was through such a desire that perhaps the greatest and most beautiful angel of all time fell to such morbid depths as to be called the devil, the embodiment of evil, the very presence of death. How it all began, we can only guess, but the Bible provides us with some prophetic imagery illustrating what came down:

“How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’” Isaiah 14:12-14 (NASB)

Illustration for John Milton’s “Paradise Lost“ by Gustave Doré, 1866 – Public Domain

Many scholars believe that the star of the morning, Lucifer served as the worship leader in heaven. Standing near the throne of God, adorned in magnificent beauty, he led the entire host of heaven in glorious worship of their Creator. Somewhere along the line Lucifer looked at God’s beauty and preeminence, gazed over the myriads of angels bowing low in worship, and then riveted his attention on his own beauty (a beauty given by God). Immersed in the glory and majesty of it all, a simple seed thought began to grow until it consumed Lucifer’s entire being. He, and he alone, should be sitting on the throne of the universe, basking in the worship and adoration of the angels.

For His part, for reasons perhaps beyond us, the King of the universe remained silent as Lucifer schemed and plotted, recruiting a third of the angels for a planned coup against the one true source of life. The zombie conspiracy had begun.