Saturday, December 31, 2011

State-controlled church in the "free" world

Have you ever believed that you would see a state-controlled church in a democratic and free country? Well just like communist China, the state control church is beginning to emerge in North America.

For the past weeks I have listened to and read stories of that confirm this phenomenon. Mid-December I read and heard of the fact that Canadian Catholic-owned schools are being told that in order to get state funding, they must implement 'gay-straight clubs' at school as an anti-bullying measure (Click to see 1 such article on the matter - Desmond 2011). This week I learned that Catholic owned hospitals will lose state owned funding if their health care does not cover contraceptives, abortion or abortion referrals. Catholic owned orphanages are also being told that they will lose funding if they discriminate against parents who seek to adopt children based on sexual orientation. (Click to see 1 such article by Goodstein 2011). However, I find it strange how we got to this in the first place. When is it that the church needed to depend on state funding to take care of the fatherless and the infirm and to disciple the young?

Perhaps these situations are not as extreme as in China, where the state regulates religion (see this link for China's state regulations of religion - State Council of the People's Republic of China 2004).  One YouTube video I watched at a church service on the Chinese state-owned church, declared that the church's Bible, sermons and hymns are edited (although I question the truth of this, as I cannot find official evidence - see article by Galli 2004 ). However I wonder how long before the North American democratic states get to the place of telling churches what passages of scriptures can or cannot be read aloud during services, what topics pastors cannot preach and what songs the congregation cannot sing. Then to the state of barring pastors as marriage officers for not marrying gay couples. Today, we are seeing a reversal of the separation of church from state (See article on 'The faith (and doubts) of our fathers'). I predict that democratic states will soon like the Chinese state, develop regulations for religion, and persecute all non-conformists as law breakers. Then, not I, but the word of God already prophesies this (See Matthew 24:9 for one such prophecy). As is was with the early beginnings of Christianity, so shall it be towards the end.

Desmond, Paige. (2011, Dec 15). Anti-bullying bill causes controversy: Catholics groups say no to gay-straight alliances. Cambridge Times.

Galli, Mark. (2004, November 1). The Chinese church's delicate dance: A conversation with the head of the Protestant Three-Self Patriotic Movement. Christianity Today

GOODSTEIN, LAURIE. (2011, December 28). Bishops say rules on gay parents limit freedom of religion. originally appeared in The New York Times.

State Council of the People's Republic of China (2004, November 30). Religious Affairs Regulations (№ 426). Passed on July 7, 2004 at the 57th session of the State Council. Took effect on March 1, 2005. Signed by Premier Wen Jiabao in November 30, 2004. English Translation by Peter Erickson.

The faith (and doubts) of our fathers: What did the makers of America believe about God and religion? The subject is stirring the very rancour they wanted to avoid. (2011, Dec 17). The Economist.


I also learned that here in Canada from the pastor of the fellowship I attend that churches have to be trained in the disabilities act so as to accommodate persons with disabilities attending their congregations. I also learned that if churches have any meal programmes where food is consumed by the public, that they must have trained persons with food handlers permits to oversee the operations. I will conduct the research to locate those official requirements though to ensure the truth of the matter.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

No more Christmas bashing. Why?

I used to consent with fellow Sabbatharians bashing paganism and cultural intrusion into the Christian faith, as a defilement of G-d's requirements for Christian believers. Take Christmas as an example, which I usually approach from the perspective of raising the truth about its origins in paganism and secular culture and pointing to the truly holy days of G-d as prescribed in the Bible.

However, as of tonight, and as a consequence of being on Canadian soil, I now embrace a new perspective. I now see every cultural event as an opportunity to teach about G-d and lead people back to G-d's truths.

Everything under the earth must be used as an occasion to teach spiritual truths. This is a principle that Jesus himself adopted, and used to good effect in his parables. Jesus through parables used the mundane things of everyday life to teach people about his spiritual truths. He spoke of farmers engaged in agriculture, the the sewing of garments, losing coins, making containers for alcoholic beverage, of shrewd business men and managers, investors and politicians. Nothing in everyday life escaped his commentary. Yet he used all these ordinary things that people experienced to point persons to higher spiritual truths about G-d.

Recently, G-d poured into me revelation based on my mind's absorption of Jamaica political election and the Christmas holidays and celebrations here in Canada. He reminded me that his revelation is not restricted to any particular day or season. He will communicate to human beings in whatever they find culturally relevant or meaningful, his truths. He however wants his believers and subjects of his kingdom, to examine every occurrence and event in their life as an opportunity to learn more spiritual truth and see beyond the mundane and ordinary perspective, and embrace the larger kingdom perspective.

Western society has not known how radically Christianity has impacted their culture and consciousness. Values that are held are a mixture between paganism and a Judeo-Christian heritage. Yet even in the culture, G-d speaks and finds a voice to cry out.

G-d bless you for reading this.

If I could vote for the God of the universe

When I listen to the Jews, I hear an ethnic/communal G-d. When I listen to Muslims, I hear of a distant (far away) Allah. But when I stick to the Christian G-d of my fathers, I hear a personal deity involved in every detail of my life.

So if I could vote for the G-d of the universe as we vote for a Prime Minister to govern a country, I would vote for the personal deity who gave his son as a ransom for the life of human beings.

No matter the contradictions in the Bible, the apparent support for slavery and colonialism, the G-d of the universe redeemed his image through Jesus in the "New testament".

I am so glad that G-d will even use the Christmas and Jamaican election season to help me remain focus on his wonderful truths.

G-d's richest blessings to everyone

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sex in Eden? Before the Fall of Man

What happened in Eden before the Fall of man when Adam and Eve had sexual intercourse?

No nakedness, no guilt. Adam and Eve would have had an experience where they both felt closer to each other and both experienced orgasm simultaneously. It would ahve been atleast a very good experience if not perfect, with both being mutually satisfied and still feeling comfortable relating to G-d. Further, the Bible describes their experience as a "know"-ing experience (see Genesis 4:1 KJV). They were made for sex (reproduction, see Genesis 1:28), were meant to have it and enjoy the experience.

No pain; no inhibitions. Both were free to explore and incapable of sexually sinning as they had no deviant knowledge to impact their sexual relations.

Such information is important as today's popular culture makes it seem as if the only way one can enjoy sexual intercourse is through sexual deviance and through forbidden sexual practices and being 'naughty' or 'bad'. Don't drink the Kool Aid of the devil's lies, but know the truth and it shall set you free!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Ministry of Biblical Illustration

I have been thinking about how to give service at the fellowship that I regularly attend and to the L-RD at this time. After reading some passages in Ezekiel, I saw where G-d asked Ezekiel to put forth information to various target audiences. In these, I felt that I could merge my desire to serve G-d with my interest or hobby in drawing, as information does not have to be textual only, but also visual. But more so to do this with a community of other young persons who may share my passion/hobby for learning to draw and illustrate.

I believe the culture of the world is now skewed towards visual communication  and even in church, I see the use of this relative modern way of communication in the form of PowerPoint slides, multimedia or videos. I also see where even in the church quarterly or periodicals, graphics are designed and there are illustrations.

I am pretty sure that you may know young people or other persons within your fellowship that draw or want to learn. I myself, cannot draw well, but am an amateur. Nevertheless, I believe that if I use the little that I know for G-d, especially with others, then eventually, G-d will improve my talent over time.

The church should have a mission focus or emphasis, and a goal to make every believer a minister. One area of ministry that often is neglected is the use of visual arts or visual communication. There is an adage that says that a picture is worth a thousand words. Surely, in times gone by in the past, the LORD caused persons to write down his communications to human beings. However, he does not limit his communication to the written word only. Psalm 19 states that his creative works also communicates.

As such, I see a new area of ministry and opportunity for members to give service to the LORD at this time that is in keeping with the modern culture of visual information consumption. Our modern culture in today's world is skewed towards visual communication and even in church, the is reliance on this relative modern way of communication in the form of PowerPoint slides, not to mention the countless brochures, fliers and other visual communication that are create each year to convey ephemeral information.

Such a proposed ministry can have a mandate or the aim of merging the desires of members to serve G-d with an interest or hobby in drawing or illustration to get an opportunity to do so while also fellowshipping with a community of other persons who may share that same passion/hobby for learning to draw and illustrate.

As in Moses' record of the construction of the tabernacle, God gave and used talents of two men to design the tabernacle's art work and interior decorations, so it is that God can use the talents for visual arts that he gave to members in the congregation for the purpose of contributing to the growth of the church as well as these individual members who serve. 

(Published November 22, 2011; but revised November 26, 2011)

The relevance of Ezekiel 17:1-10 to the Immigrant

As I continue to see the scriptures through the standpoint of an immigrant, my Bible reading is no longer the same. As I look at texts, new meaning comes from passages that were once alien to me. Ezekiel 17 is one such chapter that became alive to me within these past 2 weeks.

A few things to point out about Ezekiel 17:1-10
  1. G-d created a riddle or parable -  a simple story with a deep meaning that one must extract from the surface
  2. He uses the imagery of crop propagation  and agriculture
  3. Generally, the Bible usually uses animals such as birds to represent spiritual or celestial beings, and plants to represent earthly beings or human beings (This is revelation knowledge that I can't give a justification for. But I could point out a number of passages in scriptures to support this, but at another time).
 In verse 3, there is mention of a great eagle, with great wings, that came to a foreign country and plucked up the highest branch on a tree.

With my coming to Canada to do my postgraduate studies, I feel that student immigrants (who are the brightest and most intelligent minds in their home countries) are almost plucked up from their homelands and taken to a foreign country. While there might be some element of choice in the matter, not all students that apply to graduate school or even to the high commissions or embassies are selected. They are sifted, just like how the Eagle in Ezekiel 19:4 crops off the top of the young twigs on the highest branch. These student immigrants selected are like the twig carried away to be set in a city of merchants (verse 4). In the immigration analogy, these cities of merchants are the highly developed economies of the world, the multi-cultural market places, that facilitates cultural and economic exchanges.

Continuing with the analogy, seeds are also taken, so it is not just twigs for propagation, but also seeds. These are planted by waters. They are planted in good soil, and they grow towards the Eagle who gives them birth in this new soil. However its branches are low and not as high as a tree. It also depends upon the Eagle that took it to the new soil to nourish it.

Another great eagle comes to the land, and the newly planted vine grows towards this other Eagle and changes its direction, moving away from the Eagle that gave it birth.

Though this passage has a meaning for Israel, the nation of immigrants, I see in it also a message for the United States of America, also a nation of immigrants. You were established by immigrants who were carried to the land by G-d (the great Eagle). G-d planted your forefathers and also children. But as the children of the new nation grew, they changed their direction from the G-d that planted them, and turned towards another great Eagle (another god).  Thus the words echo in Ezekiel 17:9: Will this nation of immigrants prosper?

The message is also for me as an immigrant student. I was brought to Canada by G-d, and my prosperity and productivity in this nation depends upon my willingness to grow towards him and be humble and humiliated and dependent on him. How important it is that in this city of merchants (capitalism and trade and commerce) and market place for world products and services, heavily trafficked by cultural and economic exchanges, that I maintain my dependence on the great Eagle that took me here, and not trust in another.

(Published November 24, 2011; Revised November 26, 2011)

Conversation on the Judeo-Christian Feasts

I had another discussion on the Judeo-Christian feast days with a colleague of mind. I made the point that the churches need to engage in more discussion of the santuary and the feast days and the symbollism thereof. One can not understand New Testament or Biblical prophecies without understanding these and the rest of the Old Testament.

I also made the point that I do not hear much of this discussion in churches back in Jamaica, except for the Amstrong groups and the Messianic Jewish congregations.

My colleague then responded that the topic has come up directly or indirectly in almost all of the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) lessons over the past couple of years. I replied that it may have been raised a few times, but not much and not in detailed seminars.

I also went on to share of the need for Christians to celebrate at least one communion similiar to how the modern Jewish Passover is observed.

My friend in curiosity requested more details about how such a communion would be celebrated.

This gave me the opportunity to share that the communion in the New Testament is with a meal - a real supper, with table spread with some of the Jewish passover symbols. Here is a transcript of some of the dialgoue that ensued:

My friend: Sounds nice but I am not sure why one would want to do that. The first communion was held on Passover but they commemorate different events. That is why the symbols are not all the same and do not bear the same significance.

Me: But Jesus Lord's Supper did have a meal. And Apostle Paul did mention it, rebuking those who came and greedily ate the supper. Supper also implies having the meal at night. Churches have it in the day. So we are out of step with the symbollism.

My colleague: I wouldn't go so far as to claim that the time of night is symbolic. I would say we should be able to have it at any time of day. We probably need to ask ourselves what the purpose of the communion is and then what is the purpose of each thing that we do in achieving that purpose. It would be good to have a fellowship meal during the communion service but is not having such a meal taking away from the symbolism?

Me: Well communion implies fellowship and eating together. So it just seems a natural fit to have a meal and not just break bread and have a little sip of grape juice. In fact Paul said some persons got drunk at the Lord Supper, which implies that they had a lot to drink, and that it was not a littl sip of grape juice.

My colleague: I agree with you on both counts but I keep going back to the symbolism. What has been lost? If we have only lost gluttony and drunkenness then the change was a good one.

Me: Well...we can only know what was lost if we recreate the original symbollism or least close to it (without the sacrificing of a real lamb, which would be unlawful now). After all, the church is being restored to its original doctrines lost over centuries. Yet Reformation is only a gradual process.

My colleague: You mean a little over a century and a half? (assuming you are speaking about the SDA church) It is not always good to return to original doctrines. If people always did that then reformation would be of no effect. A mature religion/church is one that is not afraid to admit that not everything we believed in the past was right and that we might not yet know everything that we are supposed to know.

Me: No. I mean the church of the apostles and their traditions. Before Anti-semitism separated the Jewish Christians from the Gentile Christians. Agree with this though: "A mature religion/church is one that is not afraid to admit that not everything we believed in the past was right and that we might not yet know everything that we are supposed to know." As the Spirit leads us, which is gradually into "ALL truth".

My colleague: Amen...and so we continue searching for (the fullness of) truth... me gone.

(Published November 24, 2011; Revised November 26, 2011)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Succeeding in Academia through Spiritual discipline

This is one of my shortest reflection, and is based on my meditation of how my faith has played a role in my academic endeavours. I want it to be used to encourage other students and prospective students of the importance of not neglecting the spiritual disciplines of your faith. I also want to challenge you students to pursue your dream of a university education by applying your spiritual discipline to assist in your secular studies. The same habits formed from these spiritual exercises are those that will help you succeed in academia.

Studying - the mental habits of memorizing Bible verses/committing scriptures and text to memory and reflecting on the meaning of particular passages, messages or concepts - is a very useful habit for academia.

Reading - the at least weekly act of reading the scriptures brings familiarity with words and going through text. This habit is also useful for the times in getting someone used to weekly or daily reading practices, that are useful in academic studies, since most information conveyed in education is done through information transfer from text.

Prayer habits - Those who practice the daily or less regular routine of getting up in the middle of the night or early morning to pray to or petition G-d or to have devotion/quiet time with G-d, develop a habit that will help one to complete assignments or prepare for examinations. Countless time, one will have to forsake sleep to study or complete an assignment. Even those who practice prayer vigils, will be use to conducting an all night exercise that might be quite a useful habit when a paper is due the next day.

Fasting - Sometimes going without food for a period of time in order to get some work done to meet a deadline is important. Those used to fasting will not find it a strange habit to do so when necessary.

Listening to Sermons/Messages - Weekly sermons and messages from the pulpit are like lectures and the way that a lot of academic professors deliver information in class. The Christian/Jewish student will always be accustomed to sitting still for a length of time to listen keenly to the delivery of information, which will help them grasp what they ought to learn. They will have the habit of focusing their attention on a speaker for important information for a length of time.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Conversation on Leviticus 21:16-23

It has been a while since I have last posted. This time I wish to post a conversation that I have had on the Web with some persons about some verses of the Scriptures and about G-d. The names have been removed to preserve anonymity. A little editing was applied to correct the spelling of words to what the persons intended to say.

Someone posted in response to Leviticus 21:16-23, 'lol, God made people with defects but he finds them gross. hahah'

16 The LORD said to Moses, 17 “Say to Aaron: ‘For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. 18 No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; 19 no man with a crippled foot or hand, 20 or who is a hunchback or a dwarf, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles. 21 No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the food offerings to the LORD. He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God. 22 He may eat the most holy food of his God, as well as the holy food; 23 yet because of his defect, he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar, and so desecrate my sanctuary. I am the LORD, who makes them holy.
[comment by Person 1 removed]

Person 2: I can't stop laughing. A nice way around this would just be to cure them all, but oh well. Btw, shouldn't the altar have magical properties that could cure them?

Person 2: So I can't go to the altar until my knee gets better?

I responded to the discussion which seem to be about Scripture and the character of G-d.

Me: Interesting questions and issues. What is the reference for this scripture?

Person 2: I'll definitely have to look, but I don't think is very nice regardless.

Me: G-d usually uses phsyical things to teach symbollic and spiritual meaning. In the day that his tabernacle is on earth, there will b categories of ppl who will not b able to come near to him.

Me: Perhaps a prophetic lesson or symbol that parallels the text that no whoremonger, adulterer and spiritual unclean person will inherit the kingdom (Ephesians 5:5 plus others in the New Testament

Ephesians 5:5 "For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater..."
New Living Translation (©2007)"You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy..."

Person 2: The passage Person 1 mentioned clearly states that only people who could be classified as gross aren't allowed in. They did not bring it upon themselves. A whoremonger, adulterer, etc chose to partake in actions that God asked them not to partake in. The others, God Himself made them that way. Thus, I still don't understand.

Me: Found the verses in Leviticus 21 (New International Version).

Me: U r right Person 2. However, because of who is involved - the Levitical priesthood, which is a symbollic and ceremonial role, that parallels who G-d's ppl are, I believe G-d was teaching through the ceremonies a spiritual truth, just as he does with the other ceremonies and rituals in the "OT". Even though we do nothing as babies, we inherit SIN and what we inherit is still detestable to G-d. Likewise there is nothing that we can do to get rid of it, so it takes G-d's action to do so.

Person 2: So if you had one deformed child, in order to teach your other children a lesson, would you ban your deformed child from coming into the bedroom, telling him quite clearly that it's because he's too deformed to come near you?

Me: The deformed Levite ate G-d's holy bread. He was just excluded from the office of going into the temple/tabernacle to work on the altar/mercy seat. However I'll ponder your question some more.

Person 3: To this entire post - my point exactly

Person 2: Okay, Mark, while you ponder it, ponder it in terms of your deformed child having eaten the last slice of Christmas cake (closest thing I could think of to holy bread).

Me: Can't judge G-d by my/our personal standards. Have to evaluate him by his own standards and about what he says about himself. But I will still ponder your question in terms of the context/reference that you have posited.

Person 2: He DOES say He is merciful, so you can judge him by that and explain how the above is merciful.

Me: I'm still pondering, but I know that throughout the Bible G-d selected persons with defects to serve him. Moses was a bad speaker, perhaps with a stutter problem. Jeremiah also complained that he was not eloquent in speech and was young. David was not handsome (relative in comparison to his brothers). Jesus himself was describe as not handsome in Isaiah 53 [Jewish scholars may differ with me on this]. Israel was chosen by G-d as a nation, because it was smaller than any other and insignificant to world events. So it is a matter of pondering what are the differences that lead G-d to act differently in some parts of the same word.

Me: Jacob was chosen over Esau though Esau was more good looking and strong.

Me: I'll continue meditation on the subject and the questions. However I do know that G-d selects some people to be close to him and others, he does not select. He has that right. Not selecting someone to share special knowledge with does not mean that he loves them any less. He is like a CEO who selects the best persons for a job.
Me: Love the points and questions though, as they challenge my existing ideas and knowledge of G-d and who he is. Pushes me to search some more.

[END of conversation]

Now I want to find out what rabbinic literature has to say on the subject and would welcome input from Jewish literature on the subject, as contemporary Christian literature inadequately provides insight on such passages. Then perhaps this conversation is not at an end, but to be continued.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Seeing G-d's message globally

In every human institution, analogies of G-d can be seen. Evidence of this can be seen throughout the Bible, as both Old and New testament draws on analogies and metaphors of human institutions such as marriage, government, law, business and agriculture to make known G-d's message to his people. It is evident from these many examples, that G-d is willing to go to a far extent to get home a message to us and to everyone who needs that message to be delivered in a different way.

G-d however has also sought to use the seasons and day and night to communicate with us. The scripture declares that each day and night speaks about G-d (Psalm 19:1-4). The message of G-d is therefore new each day. Everyday, someone needs to know about G-d. There are some who are born and new to the earth that G-d wants to the day and nights to speak to. Then there are those who have been so distracted by the world, that G-d has encoded a message to when they are finally ready to listen. The day, night and skies are like G-d's answering machine; his pre-recorded message to let humanity know "I am here, but not on earth now, but I plan to get back to you".

Not only has G-d left footprints in nature to communicate with us, but he has taken steps to leave a permanent written utterance to let us know that he is and what he plans to do with us and about us. As such, Psalms 19:7 goes on to utter about the perfection of G-d's law and how it makes one wise. It is through that law, that G-d reveals again that he is present, and has a plan and purpose for the entire earth and humanity.

Within that law, he has set seasons and times to help us reflect on his communication and to further obtain more knowledge on his plan. As today is part of the festival the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot, we need to be reminded in this season that we need to take the time today to hear what G-d has to communicate about his existence and his plan for us and our habitat.

In fact it is interesting that in the Jewish celebration of Sukkot, they dwell in a booth for seven days, where in they can look up and see the sky. See this photo from King (2011) for illustration. By design, G-d has caused them to have 7 days to look up at the sky and to be reminded of all the messages that the firmament can communicate.

Today, even if you are not celebrating Sukkot, spend  some time to look at the sky both during the day and the night to listen to what they have to say about G-d. He has a message recorded in them for you today (and every day).


King, G. (2011, Oct 17). Celebrating Sukkot. Yakima Herald-Republic.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The case for an open theology

words from John Robinson, a Puritan minister, admonishing Puritans about to leave Holland in 1620.

Excerpt taken from: A history of New England with particular reference to the Denomination of Christians called Baptists Volume 2 By Isaac Backus

“We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have an occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed.” - Ellen G. White -
Review AND Herald
July 26, 1892

 MY CONCLUSION: the denominations that I attend regularly must not necessarily define my beliefs, but I must be eclectic in my approach for Truth, drawing beliefs from many Christian denominations and from Judaism.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Just sharing my enriching experience

I depart from my usual blog entries to just express the warmth I am feeling.

It has been so lovely fellowship at London SDA Church for the past 3 Sabbaths this month.

Took the bus and arrived late, but I felt so pleased to be going to church and to be identified as a church goer. I was well dressed and felt like I was dressed like a Jew with my hat. Even met one of my professors on the way (who I am a Teaching Assistant for).  She asked me where I was going as I am so well dressed up. "Church" I replied, happy to declare that I am a believer and man of faith.

I had the feeling of David, when he said "I was glad when they said unto me, let us go to the house of the L-RD."

It has been an awesome experience, as the love and fellowship that I have received from people who don't know me but want to help me is at time overwhelming.

It makes me glad that my parents brought me up in church, where I have known what it means to have people other than biological family & relatives love and care for me.

For those who don't go, you never know the value of having a community of people other than family and your immediate neighbours, to your happiness and well being.

I like the pastor, Alex Golovenko, who calls us into missions and into reaching out to persons from various nations.

Today he called for us to commit to:

1) pray for all the nations of the world (he will provide a list and country profile)
Emphasis of the prayer is that G-d will send or raise up more labourers into those nations

2) read the whole Bible challenge
the word is a sin repellant when committed to memory.

3) give sacrificially
stop trusting money and trust G-d.

4) meet other people from cultures different than my own and go out of my way to meet new people
Get out of my comfort zone and circle of friends and go meet people who I do not know in order to let them know what I know.

5) mentor a disciple

This call to ministry resonates well with my spirit. I pray that I can commit and be a part of this.

Location: London Seventh-day Adventist, 805 Shelborne Street, London, ON. N5Z 5C6

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Man shall not live by bread alone...

The Scripture is usually covered with layers of meaning to be discovered by the soul that is diligently searching it. Proverbs 2:4 declares that one must seek for G-d's words, knowledge that he has revealed and the understanding thereof as seeking for hidden treasure. This implies taking an active approach to Bible reading and study. Psalm 1:2 mentions that there is a blessing for the man that delights in the law of the Lord and in it meditates day and night. As a result, I am convinced that there is so much meaning and layers of interpretation to be derived from scriptures.

One such scripture that I appreciated more this week was verse 3 of Deuteronomy 8. It says (in King James Version):
And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

Today, making money is sometimes likened to making bread or getting/eating food (In Jamaica - it's 'eat a food'). In the chorus of a song by the hip-hop artiste Nelly, money is described as leading one to feeling good and satisfied (Nelly "Take a Ride with Me"). Today's philosophy is that money satisfies.

McIntyre describes the modern philosophy of leisure and pleasure seeking, otherwise known as hedonism

Pleasure is viewed as a feeling of contentment when various physiological or social needs and expectations are satisfied (e.g. the taste of food when hungry, TRAVEL to exotic destinations, sleeping when tired). Much leisure ACTIVITY is centred on seeking pleasure through amusement and ENTERTAINMENT, and significant energy, time and money is expended in pursuit of this goal. Hedonism is the belief that seeking pleasure is the prime goal of life. In modern times, this extreme pursuit of pleasure has come to be associated with the CONSUMER SOCIETY, which links commodity consumption to life satisfaction. However, it is argued that this quest is ultimately unsatisfying in that the ‘day-dreams of pleasure (as promised by consumption) are never matched by the reality of experience’ (Rojek 1995:114).
For humanity today, pleasure is the pursuit of money and profits. This also similar to how the term is used in Isaiah 58:13, a verse that has traditionally been used by Sabbath keepers to decide what not to do on Sabbaths. However, if read in context with the whole, starting with verse 3 which discusses that while Jews were fasting or attending their religious ceremonies and holidays/holy days, in their businesses, employees had no rest day and had to be working. In essence, while the Jews were taking the time out to seek G-d, they did not give their employees the opportunity to do so as well, but kept them on the job in order to increase profits and financial gain.

Man's pleasure is derived from his ability to make money for the purpose of consumerism. Or so the world feels.

But the Bible declares that consumerism (or the eating of bread) is not the only thing that satisfies. In fact consumerism alone cannot keep us alive and healthy. Our health, wellness and life comes not only from the drugs that we can purchase, the food, clothing, shelter, homes and other possession that we have. Jesus reiterated that in Luke 12:15 when he warned us to beware of greed and that a man's life does not consist of an abundance of things.

So while it is good to have possessions,  it is also important to take time to actively find out about G-d's revealed will for you and your life.

As such, the secret to a satisfying and fulfilling life is found in Joshua 1:8:
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Money may answereth all things (Ecclesiastes 10:19), but without G-d, it can not bring full joy and satisfaction. Ecclesiastes 5:12 reveals that the rich cannot sleep properly because they have too much. "All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled" (Ecclesiastes 6:7 KJV). However, if G-d's words proceed from our lips, and we actively study it and apply or practice it, then we shall be satisfied. Let our bread be that like what Jesus declared:

"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work." (John 4:34)


McIntyre, N. (2003) Enjoyment. In J. M. Jenkins & J. J. Pigram (Eds.), Encyclopedia of leisure and outdoor recreation. London: Routledge.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Bible, Immigration and Globalisation Part IV

It has been a while since my last entry, and now, my first time blogging from London, Ontario in Canada. I recently arrived to pursue PhD studies. As such, I have been taking in an entire new world and with it a new understanding of the familiar scriptures.

I now see the Bible as a book that immigrants can connect with. This for me provides a secondary explanation as to why the European American settlers were so devouted to the Christian or Jewish faith and the Bible. Apart from migrating for religious persecution, they were better able to connect with the patriarchs, all of whom were immigrants, with the promise of settling in a promised land. Which immigrant cannot connect with the experience of going into the unknown and being separated from family members and ties and the familiar, then going to a foreign land to face struggles alone and hoping that they had some familiarity around them. Even someone who knew them in a previous life to encourage them and help them adjust.

I am now in Canada, as an immigrant with the mission of studying Library and Information Science. Thanks to G-d for working all things out.

However, being alone, I can only remember Jacob, who left his family to migrate. Secondly, as this is my second night without a bed (I do have a “bed” of sorts, if you count my towels, sheets and plastic bags). This experience therefore helps me to connect with Jacob, who also had a bed of rocks (Genesis 28:11), which he later named Bethel (Genesis 28:18-19). How I hope that my house where I lay will be my Bethel.

Bethel was the place where Jacob met and encountered G-d. It is at Bethel that God reaveled to Jacob  divine purpose and the vision for his life (Genesis 28:11-14). It was also at Bethel that G-d made Jacob to know that G-d's presence was with him (Genesis 28:15).

This was important, because Jacob was to experience 14 years of hardship, for which G-d's revelation would be of comfort and good cheer. That revelation was perhaps the hope that Jacob clinged to in order to overcome the realities of his present hardships.

In fact, Jacob's experience of being physically separated from family members can only be paralleled to Joseph. I can also connect with the experience, being physically separated from wife and daughters and parents and siblings.

However, like Joseph's experience, I know G-d means it for good, and that by going ahead, I can prepare the way for spouse and children so that they can experience London Ontario in a more comfortable way than I have. In fact, I know not how my experiences in Canada, will in the future help my family: parents, siblings, spouse or children.

However, of one thing I am sure, that G-d has purpose for anyone who will be willing for him to use them. Any immigrant, regardless of the your occupation or status in life, can experience G-d's presence and revelation. This was demonstrated in the experience of Hagar, a maid/servant girl, who also had that experience.

Hagar, when ordered to migrate by her master and mistress (Genesis 21:14), now became a single mother immigrant with a boy child,  Abraham's son Ishmael. Despite the fact, she called upon Abraham's G-d, and cried out for her son and herself (Genesis 21:16), as she could not imagine how they were going to make it through life on their own in areas unknown. No familiarity, no one around to help them.

And G-d answered her (Genesis 21:17-19), thereby showing that he will help anyone who calls out for him and express their need. It is thereby reassuring that as an immigrant, that the G-d of the Bible is a G-d who helps immigrants.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Immigration & Globalization in the Bible (Part 3)

I have arrived at the conclusion through meditating on G-d's word that G-d's intent is for people to spread out on the earth and live everywhere on the earth. Based on the scriptures and my discussion of them in Immigration & Globalization in the Bible (Part 1), G-d wants globalisation and population explosion to take place. It is humanity that wants to stop and prevent people from occupying their borders, as well as people (who are lead by Satan's agents) who want to reduce population in fear that they are depleting the earth's resources or that humanity is becoming too much to govern and control.

While early humanity was carrying out's G-d's purpose for them, there was some extra-terrestrial immigration. A group described as 'the sons of God' were attracted to the women of earth. Like Eden, when Satan seduced Eve, these sons of G-d visited earth seduced and wooed humanity's females. Then there were intermarriages between these extraterrestrials and humanity. According to at least one very reliable source in the literature of the Apocrypha (the book of Enoch), those alien immigrants brought with them the magic arts, cosmetology, astrology, herbal medicine, technological know how and many of the things (and sins) that humanity now practices. Note well that: The book of Enoch is reliable because this same book is cited in the New Testament book of Jude verse 14-15 and also by a respected Ante-Nicene father of the early church, Iraeneus (Schaff p.481).

As a consequence, there were mutants born among the human race. Giants and men with incredible powers, abilities and capabilities occupied the earth, as cross-breeds between humans and fallen angels (the aliens) (Genesis 6:4).

On reading this, I believe that some of you are probably thinking that this is a wild interpretation closer to Hollywood. Unfortunately, Hollywood's motion picture ideas are not very far fetch from spiritual reality. In fact, though I don't have sufficient documentary proof, I believe that some of Hollywood's movie ideas are obtained by necromancy or by demons/fallen angels communicating with Hollywood movie directors, actors, script writers and other artists. That however may be an entirely new area of research that is outside of the scope of this reflection.


Schaff, Philip. ANF01. The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus: Christian Classics. Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 2002. Web. 4 June 2011. <>

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fatherly Reflection

I take a pause in my studies of immigration in order to write on the important topic of fatherhood. The weekend for me has been a time of reflection on my father, due to his birth day being in this month, as well as Father's day also approaching. Such meditation has been fruitful in conceiving revelation from the L-RD based on the verses in Proverbs chapter 4.

Solomon admits in the early verses of the chapter that he was taught by his father David (Proverbs 4:3-4), who taught him primarily to value and acquire wisdom (Proverbs 4:5,7). Solomon in turn valued this lesson so much that later when G-d appeared to him  and asked him what he desired for a gift (2 Chronicles 1:7; 1 Kings 3:5.htm), Solomon could only but remember his father's words and advice that wisdom was the principal acquisition (Proverbs 4:7) that would bring everything else . As such, Solomon made his request for wisdom (2 Chronicles 1:10).

Solomon's story demonstrates how important it is that as fathers, we teach our children so that they will grow up knowing how to make wise choices (and the best choices) in life. It is a parent's duty (and especially a father) to teach his children from his own life experiences about the world that they live in and inhabit, and what makes for success in life.

Can you imagine David, who was a failed father of many children, made up for his entire bad parenting with Solomon his last child? After seeing what tragedies resulted from his bad choices and personal failures with his older children, David took parenting his last child gotten from adultery very seriously. David used where he had failed and had many regrets and his own foolish mistakes in the past that he wanted to make amends and correct to teach and guide his youngest child. Hence David advised  Solomon and gave him teachings that would make Solomon learn from his father's mistakes and experiences, and avoid those same mistakes and pitfalls in life.

All father's should, like David, give unto their children pearls of wisdom and instruction about how the world works and how best to survive in it. Our children must know what pitfalls to avoid and what will ruin them and prevent them from attaining their desires, happiness and goals from our own teaching and guidance that we must give them. It is when we do such an investment in our children, that they will make wise choices like Solomon, and become successful and respectable citizens of the earth.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Immigration & Globalization in the Bible (Part 2)

So the first ambassador and diplomat was G-d, and the first embassy was located in Eden. Human government had access to good diplomatic relations with heaven.

However, a certain deportee called 'Satan', used the medium of a serpent in Eden, to disrupt the diplomatic relationship between humanity and heaven. Through the serpent, the devil was able to seduce human government to break the first treaty ever established on earth. However, out of it G-d made a new policy for earth's extra-terrestrial relations in Gen 3:15:

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring Or seed and hers; he will crush Or strike your head, and you will strike his. (NIV)
Man who violated the conditions of their access to life and G-d in Eden was also deported. Adam and Eve found themselves denied entry to Eden and forced to immigrate to places where they would have to undertake agriculture for survival. Their visa to heaven was revoked; they lost their citizenship and permanent residence in Eden.

Adam was not only to have strained diplomatic relations with G-d, but also with the earth. Adam was used to picking fruit and nuts from trees, which were adequate to sustain him. Now he would have lack of access to orchards, and would have to create his own. Fortunately, he could till the soil for crops that did not take as long to grow and reproduce, such as ground provision and grain.

Now Cain, the first murderer, also had further strained diplomatic relations with both G-d and the earth. Unlike his dad, Cain had no work permit and could no longer utilise agriculture for his survival. His work permit on earth was revoked and he had to be a nomad in order to obtain food. Plus, he lost access to visits from G-d. However G-d did give him refugee status (Genesis 4:11-16).

Despite his lack of a work permit, Cain managed to build a city (Gen 4:17). So despite having to be a food gatherer and (possibly hunter), instead of a farmer, Cain was able to access food that he could possible store and have time to build a dwelling for himself and his family to settle down. Cain then became an artisan and skilled worker, and his generation followed. His great great grandson Lamech raised Jabal who became the father of tent makers skilled in livestock production (indicating that rather than hunting, they were able to domesticate a supply of animals, so they could have a constant supply of meat, hence remaining settled in one place) (Gen 4:19-20). Another offspring was Jubal, who raised musicians in his family, persons adept at discovering how to pleasantly arrange and organise sound and make instruments (Gen 4:21). This indicated that Jubal's descendants did have time for leisure and recreation, due to some constant supply of food and adequate food provision. How else would they have abandoned the rat race of gathering food and hunting if otherwise?

Finally, Lamech's son, Tubal-Cain, became a skilled artisan at making agricultural and construction tools. He was the first to be involved in the metal industry (Gen 4:22).

These great stories tell me that whatever restrictions are placed on one's working in another country, there are still ways and means to survive. No matter where you go and may be unable to find work, you can find something to do that can bring you an income. You need not rely on formal employment. You can always innovate and find something that humanity is not yet doing or producing and create a livelihood for yourself. Self-employment, innovation and entrepreneurship is also a path to being a successful immigrant. G-d bless you.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Immigration & Globalization in the Bible (Part 1)

It is amazing how much immigration takes place in the Bible. In fact, when reading the Bible, especially the part called the "Old Testament" one will realise that globalization is nothing new. Bible stories all talk about the issues of globalization and immigration.

As I prepare myself for my sojourn in Canada to study, these issues occupy my mind, and the only scriptures that seem relevant to me are those about immigration issues. What are the stories that can inspire me as I leave my home country to a foreign one? What spiritual lessons can I learn? Like the Jews, and as a spiritual Jew, can I draw inspiration from the immigrants of the past? What does the Holy Scriptures declare about the phenomena of globalisation and immigration?

This is hoped to be the first of a series of spiritual exploration of the topic. However, I will write/type as I have time, though my heart, spirit and mind will continuously reflect upon this theme in the Bible, until the L-RD fills me with sufficient stories from the scriptures to prepare me for my study experience in a foreign land among a multi-cultural people.

So let's begin in Genesis and proceed to Revelation. However, in this blog entry we will stop before at Adam. (My children are awake as early as I am, and as such I may not get enough time to write more, before they demand my attention).

So in the beginning G-d stated that his purpose for man was to immigrate and be global. Mankind's mission statement according to G-d was to 'be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth' and to form a global government over the earth's resources (Genesis 1:28). Clearly,  G-d purpose was for globalization and for the spread of humanity all over the earth. In another scripture verse in Isaiah 45:18, G-d declares that his purpose for man was to inhabit the earth and not leave it desolate. Hence people should not be clustered just in part, but must be everywhere on earth.

Another issue is that G-d has no intention for humanity to permanently live in heaven (if ever live in heaven). Numerous scriptures tell us about G-d's purpose and mission for humanity on earth. I will just bullet a few more below:

  • Psalm 115:16 (New International Version)'The highest heavens belong to the LORD,but the earth he has given to mankind.'
  • Matt. 6:10: - New International Version - 'your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven'.
  • Ecclesiastes 1:4 (King James Version) - 'One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.'
  • Psalm 104:5 - (King James Version) - "[Who] laid the foundations of the earth, [that] it should not be removed for ever"
  • Psalm. 37: 11: (KJV) "But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”

G-d himself established his embassy or high commission in a place call Eden, where he regularly met with the first government (human beings) of the earth. In Eden he revealed his diplomatic mission and was the first ambassador.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Another Passover message

Today, a friend asked: 'Can u tell me what is the significance of Passover?'

Coincidentally I was reflecting on and writing up what I had learned the even before, when I got this question from my friend. So I shared with him the message I just shared with you. 

My friend also asked: ' What can i do today to celebrate this event?'
And what does it really mean?

I answered stating that I thought he asked very good questions. His questions are what I myself need to ponder. I know what I am going to do personally, but is what I am doing really what G-d would want of me?

This evening I am going to celebrate a home passover with my little girls and wife. Most Jews in the diaspora will do that.

My friend asked:  What do u plan to do with ur family thats different?

So I state my agenda:
The recounting of the story of the Exodus, beginning from bondage in Egypt. Drinking (nonalcoholic) wine, eating Matzah (unleavened bread) and bitter herbs, lighting candles and explainig to my 3 year old what it must have been like to come out of Egypt. Then move on to the story of Jesus and his disciples at the night of his supper, recounting his last supper with the disciples and what he did for humanity and what was the significance of his death and why he had to die.

My friend replied stating that he found my plans interesting, but asked another question:

'Isn't that a message which we should share all year around?'

I replied, that G-d has a different focus for each season. For the Passover season, he wants us to reflect on Christ's death and resurrection. For the season of Pentecost, we focus on the Holy spirit and the birthday of the church, while during the fall festivals, he wants us to focus on the return of Christ and the second advent

Specifically, the Passover season is the spiritual beginning and renewal of the year. We are renewed spiritually for the rest of the year and in preparation for the outpouring of the spirit for the harvest, that prepare us for our work and contribution to the harvest and eventually the harvest itself.

I thank G-d for friends who like me are seeking the spiritual food in the season that G-d has made it available.

My friend, you have already started to celebrate Passover, at least spiritually. Seeking G-d and his meaning in this season is how G-d intends for us celebrate his feasts, his spiritual feasts. By seeking the spiritual food that he has for us in the season that he has prepared it. Just like how you look for mangoes in their season and other fruits in their season; so with the natural, so with the spiritual

It is G-d that created the lights of the sky to mark seasons and times (

G-d binds his feasts to the seasons, communicating to us that his feasts will never be done away with. Even after the second advent, we will be invited to his commemorative feasts and celebrations (

In the Bible, G-d says that his seasons will never end  ( 

G-d in the Bible also declares that there is nothing done under heaven that is not done within a season or within time (