Month: April 2014

The Customs We (Still) Keep: or, How Actually Does A Temple Wear A Hat!?

She smiled as, without a word, she took off my hat and handed it to me (hats off, to me!). We were in a building. A Church building and it wasn’t during a church Service, but still… Silly me. I should have known better!(?)  Didn’t I know it’s the customary thing to do, when, as she said,  we are “…in the Building”?…

My head is just like Elijah’s, so I wear a hat all the time ( News flash:  42 kids were mauled to death by two mad mother bears after they made fun of Elijah’s bald head.).   I wear a hat to protect me from the sun, to protect me from the cold, and to protect me from those kids. I forget that I have one on most of the time. When I don’t have one on people wonder who I am. I would be totally unrecognized if I was hatless and had shaved off my beard!

I kept my hat off. Was I supposed to give “… custom to whom custom was due.”? (Rom 13:7) Was custom due here?  No hats in the Temple? I couldn’t help but wonder about hat customs, and since I don’t want to be accused of “talking through my hat”, I dug up some research on hat customs, and… I won’t keep that research “under my hat”.  Instead, I’ll share it:  

Hat customs go way back. Some hat customs go back to Medieval times,  like “hats [helmets] off”. If you were a knight in shining armor meeting another knight in shining armor it meant you had no hostile intent. “Doffing your hat” and saluting, comes from flipping up you helmet visor to show respect and show that you were not a threat. Shaking hands with your right hand, your sword hand, meant the same thing.  Digging even further back, I discovered this old custom: Jewish law required men to cover their heads as a sign of respect and reverence for G‑d when praying, studying Torah, saying a blessing or entering a synagogue, and priests in the Temple were instructed to wear a head covering. There.  An older custom puts hats back on the head…

Customs: Some fade away , while others like the “weaponless” right hand shake, stay. Some grow old and die. Most we give little thought to. I didn’t to her’s, until I was put in my place; until I was given “my hat in my hand”!

Jesus many times broke with old (religious) customs. Like the day Jesus was in the Temple in Jerusalem, a temple 46 years in the making.  (If indeed he had a hat, did he have his “hat in his hand” in the Temple or did he have his hat [properly] on his head?) His Father’s house was a central part of the Old Custom(the Old Covenant). It was considered to be the dwelling place of God. And  Jesus was angry, because his Father’s dwelling place was being desecrated. He was angry but, unlike mad mauling mother bears, Jesus, with controlled anger fashioned a whip with the intent of driving the money changing thieves out of his Father’s house. He was consumed by it.  He was on a mission. He was about to upset the tables, about to “turn the tables” on an old custom and institute an astonishing new one.

After his mission was accomplished the Jews asked Jesus what evidence he could give to show them he had the authority to do the things he had done. His answer unveils something New, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” He wasn’t speaking of a building. A temple built with human hands. He was speaking of himself. His human body was the first human temple, the first to be filled by the Holy Spirit, the prototype new dwelling place of God.

God was revealing through his Son his mysterious plan, hidden until that time, but conceived from the foundations of the world, to make the hearts of men and women His new dwelling place. God does not dwell in [buildings] made by human hands.” (Acts 7:48) God now dwells in the hearts of man.

What do you think would happen if Jesus came today and visited one of our Buildings that we call Churches? (Would he have his hat on his head or would he come “hat in hand”? Or would he have a whip!?!) What would Jesus say if he were standing in one of our Buildings made with hands? Would he need to gently remind us (without the whip!): 

“Have you forgotten? Or do you not yet understand?”  

Help me out here. I’ve got questions: Do we not yet understand that his New Covenant moves us beyond customs; the mere customs of men?  If we are the church, if we are the temple, why do we continue to ask this “normal” question of God’s people, “Where do you go to church?”.  By doing so are we not still buying into the old custom that the Building is the Temple, that “Church” is a place that we go to?  How can the Body of Christ only be some place that we go to, rather than something that we are? When we “go to Church” why do we still hear things like, “Welcome to the house of God.” or, “It is so good to be in the house of the Lord today!”, ifwe really are the house, the temple of God? (1 Cor 6:19)

“Do [we] not yet know that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in us, and whom we have [received] from God…”?  (1 Peter 2: 4,5) “…you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house, a temple of the Spirit, to be a holy priesthood…”  So, whenever and where ever we, as his temples, gather in the name of Jesus, we together can become a living temple for, and the embodiment of, the very presence of God.

And that brings me to the really BIG question: “Can a temple wear a hat?!”


What I REALLY was trying to say when I said Noah blew it!

Daily we are bombarded from every direction with new mems and mythologies. On the internet Anything and Everything is Truth. (I don’t care what Snopes says, I saw it on the internet…it must be Truth.) “What’s yours?   Oh really!?   Fascinating!”  “Tell me about it (until I get bored about it and move on).”

It’s like the Mars Hill platform that Paul spoke from, but now it’s like it’s on steroids. It’s accessible (NOW), changeable (already), and mind boggingly deceptable.(Did he mean to say it makes your brain prone to twisted deceptions?) Oh. Yeah…

When Paul introduced a One True God to the Mars Hill culture they (thought they) had every god covered. They were drowning in an endless sea of god mythologies, but, just in case they’d missed one of the god’s, they built a shrine to the “Unknown god”. So, wouldn’t you know it, along comes Paul who claims to know that their Unknown god, their missing god, is the One True God.

“What, Paul… Fascinating. You think you know who the “unknown god” is?  We’re all ears (for a while).”

Paul’s New Story meets their Old story: There is only One True God who is now making himself known through his son Jesus. Paul’s new revelation of a Creator God meets their old deceptions. Many listened to his New Good News Story (Which was God’s Old Story, the plan he had set in place before the creation of the earth.). They listened for a while, but most rejected it and moved on, content with the foundations of their “What’s New” culture.

Here in the West it’s been flipped upside down. And it is much more subtle. The foundations of this culture were built on the Old Story. But our post Christian culture is bored with the Old Story. Discontented. So, what’s New? Now there are so many New Stories, so many newer and cooler mythologies to choose from. And we can check it out now, it’s just a click away, or it’s coming soon to a theatre near us, or we get it whenever we choose through the T.V. or radio next to us.  Choking, thistle like choices, like our New Noah, with licensed creativity it boggles us and twists us, as it is presented to us with all the power of the Big Screen, and it’s big time marketing. Giving all of us new, less boring ways of thinking. Giving us New options. Drowning us in a sea of new mythologies;  new Mythologies(properly capitalized as new Truth) which give ear to the Old Lie, the first lie to cast doubt upon the Old Story:

“…did God say!?

If you eat of that tree you will not surely die!

You will be as God.

So eat.

And then You yourself can determine what is good and what is evil!”


Jesus told us over and over, “Be alert…”

Because Deception is subtle.


There once was a garden

with a Tree by a lake

til’ along came a sneaky snake…


…and that’s all I was really trying to say with how Our New Noah Blew It!


See, Noah Blew It:

Noah blew it!

Noah blew it.
Let me tell you how. First let’s say creative license does allow a movie like “Noah”  to re-create Noah into a new mythology. Then let’s say it’s O.K. to create a new story. Even if it’s Different from the Old Story.

Bill Mahr, of late night T.V. fame, who doesn’t like God,  when reviewing the movie “Noah”, figures both stories are made up, that both are impossible fantasy. He said Christians are mad at “Noah ” (the movie) because  “…this made up story doesn’t stay true to their made up story.” He’s saying you don’t like the new myth because you still believe the old myth.

“Noah’s” director, Darren Aronofsky, says, “Here’s a New story. It is a bit different from the Old story.” (O. K. maybe he didn’t “say” that. The quote  is an example of creative license.)

And so “Noah’s” director, with (re)creative license, makes up a new myth for those who still believe the “old myth” , creating a planet where man has so blown it, where man is so wicked, he needs to just go away. On this planet man’s wickedness is re-created also… Bad is not necessarily bad when you’re re-creating “wicked”. In our new mythology mining the earth will be “wicked” so rape is not bad until it’s equated to the “mining” of Mother earth. Murder is not bad until you’re eating meat. So yeah… the Murder of animals is bad.

So our new Noah is just the man for the job. He does not rape the earth and he does not eat meat. He can Save the evolved animals for the Creator, and then just go away.

Wait, “Did he just say evolved animals?”

Well yeah. Our new Noah gets it. While on the ark Noah tells his family the creation story, but while telling the story we are seeing a single-cell amoeba-like object  morphing into two cells that eventually become the creatures of the sea. The fish are shown growing feet and walking onto the land as reptiles, which in turn morph into various other land creatures and eventually become a monkey in a tree.

And seeing is worth more than a thousand words of Noah’s telling.

While Noah is telling us about the Creator we are seeing how it happens. And so, in his New story, Noah’s Director merges the theory of evolution into the creation. And Noah understands it. He get’s it. Noah sees the evolution of the animals as a good thing and humans as the bad thing, so Noah’s knife must come out and put an end to man’s ability to re-create.

But, because Aronofsky doesn’t go so far in the movie as to actually show us, his audience, the evolutionary link between man and the monkey, our new Noah (of course) then, doesn’t know about it either:

Oops… Noah doesn’t know about the missing link!  

He raises the knife  to end the possibility of re-creative life for man, not realizing evolution’s  inevitable crowning result is gonna be Man (again). And so, to really make an end of humans he must not only kill his granddaughters, he must kill every living thing on the boat, right down to the amoeba’s… 

He didn’t do it.

Noah blew it!