Resurrecting God the Father

It is essential to my argument that I begin today’s writing with a disclaimer:

** Before even beginning to address specific gender roles as they are outlined in the Bible – especially as it pertains to why God is consistently, throughout the biblical narrative, referred to with male pronouns – we must establish that we are discussing things from a strictly Christian perspective. It is easy to object to the biblical ideas of masculinity and femininity when considering the sinfulness of man and the oppression that submission might so easily espouse within power-hungry and demeaning individuals, but we must accept, going into the argument, that we are speaking from the ideal as established by God in His creation of man. In this, we must discuss matters such as submission, sacrifice, headship, and leadership not according to the negative connotations established by a prideful and lustful society, but rather according to the biblical standard to which we all must strive. When you give a man a gun, he may use it to either protect or to slay – we may guide him towards the former, but the option by which he uses it is up to him. All rules and roles in any governance or society stand the possibility of being abused; the Bible seeks to establish gender roles in a manner that is holy and set apart, glorifying to God for the betterment of mankind. A rational and concise conversation regarding such matters is impossible if we do not first establish a stable worldview which we can then extrapolate. Thus, for the purposes of this article, it is my request that we set aside secular ideologies and rather read the “He” of God the Father according to the Biblical context, that we might better understand Christian ideals and even more greatly come to grasp the beauty of God’s love towards us. **

I will begin my argument by stating this: God is spirit. Of course, He stepped into the flesh via the person of Jesus Christ and thus lived on the earth for approximately thirty-three and a half years as a Middle Eastern man, but from eternity past to eternity future God is, according to His divine nature, spirit. Thus, He is neither male nor female; however, the way in which God manifests Himself is masculine in nature, in that he designed man as an image meant to reflect Him. Therefore my thesis is that our use of the pronouns “He,” “Him,” “His,” etc. are essential in comprehending our own selves in relationship to God.

Resurrecting God the Father

Zeal For Your House

(On the subject of righteous anger.)

How is a Christian supposed to respond to injustice in the world? In the presence of sinful society and oppressed peoples, how is the Christian supposed to handle himself? Shall we unleash the tongue as did Elijah and John the Baptizer, suffer the scourge as did Christ and Paul, wield the sword as did Joshua and David? Of prophets and priests and kings, by what manner shall we act? When is the appropriate time to overturn tables and fashion a whip of cords?

In this write-up on the matter, I do not [expressly] seek to push a single point of view, but rather to provide more of a systematic study on the subject of anger as it is found in the biblical text.

Zeal For Your House

Rise of the Mystics - Book Review

I had the pleasure of being part of Ted Dekker’s Launch Team for the second and final installment in his “Beyond the Circle” series, Rise of the Mystics, and as it finally hits bookshelves today – Tuesday, October 2, 2018 – I can finally post my review of it!

Rise of the Mystics - Book Review

On a Trip Fully Paid

In one of my classes this morning – amidst talk of morality and revenge and Nietzsche’s [frankly odd] views of justice and punishment – we arrived at the happy tangent of the Gospel promise and what it meant for the Christian life, especially as it pertains to the factor of human choice coupled by divine sovereignty.

“imagine you have been offered the chance at a luxurious trip by which you can skip school without punishment, and that trip is fully paid,” said one student, or something along those lines. “That is the Gospel.”

“If it’s been fully paid, why would you not accept the offer?” asked another.

Precisely, thought many people throughout the room. A few said it out loud.

“But if you get on the plane and go on the trip, what prevents you from doing bad things?” asked another, this in response to the matter we had been discussing, that idea of a true Christian not continuing on in an abundantly sinful life. “What motive do they have to do the will of the one who paid the price? The metaphorical salvation has already been grasped, so why do good things at all?” From this broke out discourse over definitions of mercy and grace and sin, and in no time we had wandered so deeply into the weeds that every Calvinist and Arminian in the room was getting sweaty at their palms.

Then Nietzsche came calling once again, and our tangent came to an abrupt end. Back to what we were actually supposed to be studying.

But this thought stuck with me throughout the day…

On a Trip Fully Paid

The Fruit of Grace (Reflections on Genesis 41)

Hey everyone. Here's another reflection for today:
GENESIS 41. Leku el Yosep, aser yonan lakem ta’asu. “Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do” (v.55). This calls to mind the first miracle of Christ, when His mother Mary said to the servants at Cana, “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5).
Both stories provide an evident shift in power—Joseph, the prisoner, has now become a czar, and Jesus, the perfect son, now addresses His own mother as “Woman” (v.4), signifying that His ministry has begun and they now share a different relationship.

The Fruit of Grace (Reflections on Genesis 41)

From Graciousness to Grace (Reflections on Genesis 33)

Hey, everyone.

Here’s something a little different, I guess. It’s been a while since I posted on here, but just so you know I didn’t slip off the face of the earth, I figured I’d share one of my reflections with you today. I’ve started reading through the Bible chapter by chapter, day by day, and today, July 24, was Genesis chapter 33. Here’s what I got out of it:

GENESIS 33. Chanan – to yearn towards, long for, be merciful, compassionate, favorable, inclined towards. Graciousness. We have encountered a derivative of this word many times before – in 6:8; 18:3; 19:19; 30:27; 32:5; and even here, in 33:8, 10, and 15 – but here we encounter it as an action, something actively poured out. These previous occurrences are the noun chen (typically translated “favor” or “Grace”), but they are nothing without their source derivative of chanan, graciousness, without which they would cease to be. There would be no grace if there was not first a gracious person who chose to give that grace life. So we see here. As Jacob and Esau reunite, thrice Jacob says unto his brother that he desires to find favor in his sight: “To find favor in the sight of my lord” (Limso chen be’ene Adonai, v.8)…”if I have found favor in your sight” (Im na masati chen be’eneka, v.10)…

From Graciousness to Grace (Reflections on Genesis 33)

1 Passageonians

From David, a follower of the Way and a disciple of the one true King,

To those brothers and sisters in Christ for whom, by the grace of God, I was permitted to shepherd during our time in the Holy Land:

Grace, peace, and understanding unto you from God our Father, Christ His Son, and the Spirit that grants discernment, alive in us right here and right now.

I want to begin by first thanking the Lord for my every moment shared with you, from the first encounters as strangers to the reluctant farewells by which we departed only a short time later. It is by His grace alone that we were brought together, and if I have come to know the character of the Lord at all, it would be left understood that He is not one who wastes any of the time He has allotted. For this reason, I believe that our short time together was a period instituted by God, and through that time I hope we found ourselves capable of bringing Him glory upon glory, living from faith to faith, from hope to hope, from joy to joy. Yes, He gave us this time that our spirits might be enriched and uplifted and our faiths strengthened all the more, but even more so, He gave us this time that we might return the glory back unto Him who provided us with our every breath. To Him be the praise for granting us such an opportunity, and even if such an opportunity had been lost, let us praise Him still more!

1 Passageonians

The Artist's Intent

ART AND BEAUTY – creation and attractiveness – are two entities that are as inseparably linked together as they are curious to the pining soul. One’s definition of art might differ from another’s just as easily as what they call beautiful might differ from their best friend’s definition. Nevertheless, despite cultural changes and despite stretches through millennia and despite various styles and products and mediums being passed throughout all history, art and beauty are indissolubly bound together, connected by the fact that art cannot be art without layers of beauty, and what is beautiful cannot be beautiful if it is not in some way artistic. They are two sides to the same coin, one the entity as described by the quality and the other the quality given expression through the entity. When you begin to interpret these two things in conjunction with one another, you arrive at the point of purpose, what some would call “meaning.”

The Artist's Intent

How Many?

Billions of people, all going in different directions to their own destinations.

I look at them.

Some smile at the sight of someone looking their way; others look away as quickly as they can.

Some wear baggy clothes to cover insecure bodies; others wear tight clothes to accentuate the same.

I can see it in their eyes.

How Many?

Why Are We Surprised?

"Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools."

That phrase was written in Greek to a church in Italy by a Jewish tentmaker nearly 2,000 years ago, but perhaps it applies even more so to modern-day America.

A few days ago, YouTuber Logan Paul gave rise to massive controversy when he posted a video containing footage of a hanging dead man, which they found while filming a vlog in the Japanese suicide forest. The internet erupted in hatred and started slamming the 22-year old left and right, with politicians and celebrities alike condemning him for displaying “sociopathic qualities” and failing to “honor those who have committed suicide.” Within two days, Paul issued a public apology in which he admitted that his actions were wrong and went on to set aside “time to reflect” on his actions, yet people continue to blast him, continue to defame him, continue to tear him to shreds. Angsty internet users tell him to kill himself. A recent petition asking YouTube to terminate his account has reached over 200,000 signatures.

My question is this: Why?

Why Are We Surprised?

Here & Now

In my own humble opinion, one of the most enticing and yet aggravating concepts of all Scripture is that of Eden.

What must it have been like to walk with God in the garden? For Adam specifically, what must it have been like to be alone with your Creator for days, weeks, months, perhaps even years on end, walking and talking and laughing and working? We do not know how long Adam was in the garden before Eve was introduced, but if he successfully named each animal before recognizing there was no suitable companion for himself, it surely must have been some time. What was it like to spend such an extended period of uninterrupted intimacy with the Lord, to wake up every morning with knowledge of His presence and go to sleep each night knowing that He would be there to meet with you next day?

What was it like to be free from the burden of sin? What was it like to walk openly amongst the plants and animals, naked and unashamed? What was it like to see things in their true beauty, untainted by man’s fallen blindness? What was is it like to taste the fruit from un-cursed ground, to drink from streams purified beyond any form of natural purification? What was it like to see animals in harmony with one another – no death, no disruption, but just peace? What was it like to dream? Were dreams mere reflections of the reality around you, or was every dream a nightmare when compared to the magnificent world in which you lived?

Here & Now

Christ is Enough

Christ is enough for me…Christ is enough for me…Everything I need is in You…Everything I need…

What do we mean when we sing these words? Do we soak in their meaning and consider the weight of what they are saying, and then sing them out in humble admittance and glorious recognition? Or do we sing them merely because they are the words that are on the screen, and since the melody is familiar to us we find no fault in harmonizing?

Perhaps neither. Perhaps you find yourself somewhere in the middle. The words ring vaguely true in your head, but in reality you are focused on the errands you have to run after church or perhaps taking notice of the elegant pattern-work and stitching in the suit coat of the church member sitting in the pew ahead of you. Perhaps you know these words to be true, but you have heard them sung so often that they have lost their meaning.

Christ is Enough
David Tate1 Comment

Meditations in a Courtyard

While enjoying lunch with some friends today, I found myself absent-mindedly reaching over to a bush directly next to me, breaking off a tiny twig, and twirling it within my fingers as I listened to the duo continue rattling off in conversation. I stared at the twig and watched it rotate between my fingers, staring as it went round and round again, it’s rows of leaves becoming a verdant blur as it spiraled within my grasp.

I stopped spinning the twig. Held it up to eye level. Examined it closely. The voices of my friends were still present in the back of my mind, but my focus was not in the conversation at hand. It was on that little twig. That tiny little twig that could hide between my index and thumb if I held them at the right angle.

I stared at the maroon and brown and white-ish stem, defined by a single direction but bearing certain angles and shifts that made it a unique shape of its own.

I stared at the various leaves – thicker and darker at the bottom, while thinner and light at the top. I counted each and every one of them. There were 35 in all, spiraling upward around the stem, shooting off of the petioles and folding over like clothes hanging dry from a clothesline.

I stared at the veins on those leaves, each bolting off in a new direction, no leaf exactly alike in color, shade, size, or design.

All these things I could see on a tiny little branch. A tiny little branch that, if hidden at the right angle, could be hidden by two fingers.

David Tate1 Comment
Meditations in a Courtyard

Batman & the Death of Morality

We had a guest lecturer in my Business class this morning.

He was a nice man, an entrepreneur and multi-time author who was wanting to teach us the methods of being successful, but no sooner had he posed his first question than division spread through the entire class. Motioning to two cardboard cutouts he had brought with him and placed in the front of the class, he turned to us and spoke three class-shattering words:

“Batman or Superman?”

He called for a vote. “Who likes Superman better?” he asked first. Twelve people – myself included – raised our hands, most of them timidly. “And Batman?” he asked. Over a hundred hands shot into the air, bold and unashamed.

This was very interesting to me. I like to consider myself a superhero fan – a nerd, some might even say – but the thing that has unfailingly amazed me is people’s absolutely love for Batman. I understand the interest in him and find him quite fascinating myself – the Joker is without a doubt my favorite fictional villain of all time – but how on earth is he more favorable than Superman? I’ve heard the various arguments, but none seem to hold up.

Batman & the Death of Morality

A Parable Revisited

And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” (Luke 13:6-8)

Anger burned through the Father’s heart as He watched the man and woman exchange words with the serpent. He could hear each word exchanged, could sense their thoughts straying from what was true, could feel their throats growing thirsty for the juice the fruit had to offer. Don’t do it, He thought. Don’t  do it. But even as He watched, He knew the action they would take. He had known from the very beginning. Since before He had given His Son the authority to create them. Since before He had given His son the authority to create anything. Even back then, He had known.

A Parable Revisited

How to Make Reading Genealogies Fun

Doesn't it fall in line with God's character that He might place little Easter eggs of truth throughout the Bible for His disciples to find, little tidbits that help reaffirm those truths found throughout the rest of the text?

In this video, David addresses one of these possible "hidden messages," found in the genealogy of Genesis chapter 5, which traces Adam down to Noah.

How to Make Reading Genealogies Fun
David TateComment

The Church Camp Effect

Why is it that our church's pews are filled, yet for some reason the world is becoming a darker and darker place? What is it about the pastor's message that is failing to truly reach those amongst his congregation? Despite our love and passion for Christ, why is it that our lives don't seem to experience any true transformation?

David TateComment
The Church Camp Effect

Vegas

59 dead. Over 500 injured. The deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

This is the news that we all woke up to on Monday morning as a result of the tragic events that took place in Las Vegas on Sunday night. A 64-year old man made his way up to the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel and sent a hailstorm raining down on innocent concert-goers for Lord knows what reason, and now we wake up and fall to our knees as we ask God a short but extremely important question: “Why?”

What does this mean for all of us? What does it mean for Christians as people begin to accuse our God of malevolence or claim that this incomprehensible evil is proof of His inexistence? How are we supposed to live faithfully in a world where evil runs rampant and we are striving to live like Noah in a world that’s unaware of the Flood that’s coming? How do we respond to this pain, this suffering, this tragedy? What cold we possibly do to cope with the outbreaks of hatred and violence in the world that surrounds us?

Vegas

2 Percenter...& Proud?

I love Texas A&M.

I really do. I’ll admit that when I made my first college visit to the sprawling campus my junior year of high school I wasn’t the biggest fan (I didn’t grow up in an Aggie family, so I didn’t have the prior bias), but each and every day I’ve been here, the place has grown on me. I flash my thumb, I sing my “Howdy,” I shout my “Whoop!” I now love the campus, I love the atmosphere, and I love the people.

I even like the football too.

The thing is, I’m not one of those Aggies. You know what I’m talking about, one of those towel-wavin’, yell-shoutin’, ring-dunkin’, maroon-wearin’, horse-laughin’, hardcore Aggie elites clad in nothing but maroon and white day and night, caring so much for all things Aggieland that if there was a course offered called Aggie Traditions, they would come out with a 12.0 GPA. Here at A&M we call those people “Red A**” (I censor this because sadly we are not talking in terms of donkeys), and I’m simply not one of those. I am what people at A&M would call a “2 Perecenter,” which the Wikipedia page for Aggie Terms (yes, that’s a thing) defines as “Aggies who choose not to participate in Texas A&M traditions.” This isn’t to say that I despise all the Aggie traditions or that I hate the school (which I’ve already clarified), but simply that I came to the school purely because it was a good school to go to, and for some reason have never been able to truly grasp the whole Aggie tradition thing.

2 Percenter...& Proud?

With Great Power...

“The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”

Isn’t it interesting how the first sin is shortly followed by the first excuse? God sees Adam, Adam sees God, God asks Adam what’s going on, Adam says he’s ashamed because he’s naked, God points out that Adam isn’t supposed to know that he’s naked and the only way for him to know that was if he had eaten from the tree he wasn’t supposed to eat from, and then Adam blames Eve, and if that wasn’t good enough, he blames God too. “Well, you see, God, ultimately this is your fault. Things were fine until the woman came along, and didn’t you make her?” Adam is trying to deflect responsibility off of himself at all costs.

But God plays along. He turns to Eve, who proceeds to blame the serpent, which you can imagine ticks Adam off a bit, since it makes a lot more sense to blame the devil for your sin than it does to blame a holy and perfect God. Nevertheless, God continues to play along, and He turns to the serpent, who knows better than to provide an excuse. God reveals that it was in fact all three of them that were to blame, and their shared sin will affect not only them, but the entire world.

How often do we do the same thing as Adam and Eve?

With Great Power...

Stop. Surrendering. All.

Imagine a husband who stands before his wife, grabs her by the hand, looks into her eyes, and says, “I love you.”

The next day, he cheats on her with another woman.

Now imagine another scenario: A second husband stands before his wife, grabs her by the hand, looks into her eyes, and says, “I love you.”

Just a few hours later, he cheats on her with another woman.

Imagine one more scenario with me: A third husband stands before his wife, grabs her by the hand, looks into her eyes, and says, “I love you.”

Only a few minutes later, he slides into his car to drive over to spend time with his mistress.

My question to you is this: What do these three men in common?

Stop. Surrendering. All.

Will the Real JC Please Stand Up?

It’s Sunday morning and your church is going up in a riot.

A crazy man from out of town is running through the entrance hall, knocking over the bookcases in the gift shop and spilling the money from the cash register all over the ground, yelling loudly and shaking with anger. Ignorant to anything more than the man’s name (because you have most definitely heard of him before), you turn to your friend and ask him to dish out more details.

He’s from a small town you’ve never heard of, but people speak of the town like it has a bad reputation. He is apparently a “teacher” even though he himself is uneducated, and he has grown in popularity thanks to his acts of witchcraft that he performs on a near-daily basis. He and his closest friends are all homeless, wandering from town to town just to argue nonstop with the local authorities; he preaches a message about the loving and goodness and holiness of God, but he himself seems to contradict this apparent “holiness” by constantly hanging out with well-known thugs, thieves, prostitutes, swindlers, murderers, and whores.

Will the Real JC Please Stand Up?

Our Topsy-Turvy Gospel

Just last night, I read the introduction to John Bevere’s Good or God?, a book that tackles the subject of how “good without God isn’t enough” – in other words, how doing good things does not necessarily mean that you are aligned with God’s will. I’ve been wanting to read this book for quite some time, but only recently did I find myself with the spare time to actually sit down and start reading.

However, as is the case with most books (and all other sources of entertainment, for that matter), I felt the need to go online and start reading reviews of the product prior to beginning it myself – I do this not so much to see whether or not I will enjoy it, but more so to see how well it holds up doctrinally and whether or not it is written to a standard that leaves people actually enveloped in what is being said, rather than bored to death due to lackluster insights and overall lack of passion by the creator of the piece. Good or God? received amazing reviews (4.52/5 stars on Goodreads), but there was a something I noticed: of the two “bad” reviews the book received, they both seem to address a particular touch subject…

Our Topsy-Turvy Gospel