thank you for the music michael. r.i.p. x
I’m so gutted and sad that for this human being – he never had a chance to live without continual judgement and condemnation.
May he now rest in peace!
He was absolutely awesome!
Wow, that cartoon disturbs me on a whole lot of levels.
Seriously!!!!! I’m in shock..!!!!
I didn’t hear that news yet (have been cocooning this morning)…just checked the net and read all about it…gosh..I’m seriously thrown by this..[as so many I reckon]
Can’t believe this! This man was ‘our’ ICON!! He was the music HERO of our generation!!!! I LOVED his music!!!!! Wooooh…really have to process this…
Thanks for the cartoon Jon..it’s a good one..
Very well done . . . says so much about the judgement in our world.
cameron, elaine. thank you. i really do think that what the media, greedy people around him and the public to some extent, put him through shows human nature in its worst light. i think of that horrendous, sly, unethical, channel 4 documentary a few years back… i can’t remember the journalists name, but what a scumbag thing to do. utterly appalling. i really do wish mj peace, rest and joy.
I do agree with the cartoon and the comments about the judgement that the world has shown the MJ, but I do have my concerns about the tagline:
“Today you will be with me in paradise”
The man whom Jesus said that to has acknowledged him as King, and was penitent of his sins. That is why Jesus welcomed him to paradise. If Michael Jackson did the same and had faith then he is indeed with Jesus in paradise now.
Karita, I was heading here to make that same point.
But I don’t have to.
So I’ll stop now.
Looks like a real Thriller!
#7 ‘If Michael Jackson did the same and had faith then he is indeed with Jesus in paradise now.’
I don’t like ‘if’s’ when talking about God’s grace. I think some people know God without knowing that they do – God is love.
I know this sounds awful and unpopular. Yes, it’s sad that he’s died. I liked his earlier work, and admired his creativity, hard work. I didn’t particularly like his lifestyle or the way he was portrayed in the media (whether it is true or not I don’t know)
But I’m wondering what people are really in mourning for? If Michael Jackson had been a ‘nobody’, had never released those fantastic music records, but had just the ‘broken’ guy who lived down the street, would anyone care about his passing?
I’ve seen footage of fans crying hysterically and seen messages from others saying “What will happen to his poor kids now?”
Are they mourning because they have lost their ‘entertainment’. Have lost the fodder that fuels their conversations and sells newspapers, magazines, newspapers…
And it’s made me think of the ‘non-famous’ people who have been killed in war recently around the world like in Pakistan, Iran etc., those starving to death or dying of disease in Africa. Who cares about them, their families, what about their kids?
I don’t like ‘if’s’ when talking about God’s grace. I think some people know God without knowing that they do – God is love.
God is also holy and righteous. Jesus death on the cross means that all who repent of their sins and acknowledge him as Lord and Saviour are saved.
Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It’s pretty clear. For example, Jesus did not say that the thief on the other cross would be with him in paradise.
I agree Kim – The African I think that far too much telly time has been devoted to it today. I feel it is really unporportional.
It will be just another money maker for the media with souvenir issues, dvd’s on his life etc.
“If Michael Jackson had been a ‘nobody’, had never released those fantastic music records, but had just the ‘broken’ guy who lived down the street, would anyone care about his passing?” yes i would if i knew him. the fact is, he was famous, and his story is no less sad because of it.
“whether it is true or not I don’t know”… we know he was found innocent and we know he was hounded.
mj to me in part represents the misunderstood and the judged of this world. but mostly he was an awesome talent.
also, let’s not forget, he represents the best in popular culture to a generation worldwide. it will effect people, that’s just how it is.
hayles… absolutely. well said.
i think we all agree that the media can be a right pain in the butt. but still, he’s michael jackson, the most famous musician on the planet ever.
i for one will remember the best!
“Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”” and your absolutely sure that your particular take on that quote is the right one are you katrina?
My name is Karita.
What would your take be?
Romans 2:5-16 (New International Version)
5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”[a] 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.
12All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
Romans 9:15-26 (New International Version)
15For he says to Moses,
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”[a] 16It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”[b] 18Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
19One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” 20But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ “[c] 21Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?
22What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25As he says in Hosea:
“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”[d] 26and,
“It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them,
‘You are not my people,’
they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ “[e]
The quote does not say that you come to the father through knowing the name of Jesus but through Jesus.
When I heard he had died on the radio this morning, the first expressions which sprung to my mind were “crashing and burning” and “living fast and dying young”. The next thing I thought was “God, have mercy on his soul”. I tend to think that whenever I hear that somebody has died, regardless of who they are.
I agree with Jon that his fame was justified — he had a genuine talent for producing music. Even if some of it lacked depth.
sorry karita… apologies for getting your name wrong. my take is that no one comes to the father but through jesus.
some good quotes james and your last sentence i also agree with wholeheartedly.
rebecca. i agree. i have the same attitude. btw… even mozart was often more than shallow.
“If Michael Jackson had been a ‘nobody’, had never released those fantastic music records, but had just the ‘broken’ guy who lived down the street, would anyone care about his passing?”
It’s highly plausible that if he had ‘not’ recorded any material and become the success that he was – he may not have become a broken guy at all!
The hysteria and lifestyle surrounding MJ was not his fault. I mourn his death because his unfortunate life circumstances [from 5 years old] largely dictated who he became, not the other way around.
What makes MJ’s death exceptional is this; he became reclusive and ‘unordinary’ due to the media, the fans (us), his manager, his label, his family(!). Given that he had no childhood, no real friends as a child, no natural surroundings through growing up, no solid role model to follow – it’s no wonder this human being turned out like this. And this is why I’m sad. He could never escape.
(11) This is not to undermine the importance of the dying victims of poverty and greedy world leaders…. it’s a tragedy nonetheless.
Jon – absolutely excellent work mate. Thank you.
As a society it seems we are learning to mark people’s passing with ever less dignity. The more I see grief expressed publicly, the less I feel it is genuine. I am sick of seeing bundles of flowers (still in their cellophane from the petrol station) strapped to railings and trees, yet if someone tells me of their grief 1:1 I rarely fail to be very moved. The cult of doing everything in public baffles and saddens me.
the Jesus I know welcomes those who are broken, desperate, sick, sad, in pain, harrassed.
How would any of us ever know whether MJ knew God on any level here on earth, or whether if he met God after death for the first time and heard and accepted the mercy he was no doubt offered?
In the face of such an incredibly sad life, it’s maybe good for us to tread carefully before God and his incalculable mercy & compassion, rather than offering our own view on where this fragile soul is now.
I have seen no media coverage on any of this. Who know’s if Michael Jackson was a Christian. Did he make Christian music? Did Michael ask God to get him through his life? I don’t know. We have defanged the tiger of truth, we have tamed the lion. The tragedy of modern faith is that we are no longer capable of being terrified. No one walks in the fear of the Lord. 1 John 3:10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil or obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. So, since GOD’ WORD is so watered down I guess everyone thinks they will end up in heaven. Where is Michael? Only God knows that one, but from growing up with him, I honestly can say that I saw his FRUIT. Unfortunately we can not tell Christians from non Christians anymore, but just you wait. God is purifying his people and the MIDDLE GROUND (everyone sitting on the fence) will be removed. Christians are to be HOT for Jesus, not luke warm.
raginggenius: Yes, it would be so much more gratifying to be able to clearly identify those who are definitely going to hell!
I would say that, in many matters where compassion and grace would seem to be the order of the day, it is all too easy to tell the Christians from the non-Christians.
How come we assume that everyone makes the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision in this life? What about the people who never hear the gospel? What if they are witnessed to by fire and brimstone judgemental ‘Christians’? Can they really be regarded as having seen the truth & the way, and made the decision against it? Of course not. Maybe some dislike the fact that God bends over backwards to give people chances to find him
Would it REALLY be gratifying to tell who is going to hell? I’m not sure that I would find it so.
From what angle do you make the statement?
What does being ‘HOT for Jesus’ entail in your opinion?!
Faith, no matter how small (even the size of a mustard seed!!) can move mountains. Faith is faith, no matter how weak.
To use your analogy, I believe that God yearns for those sitting on the fence (and those the other side of it!) to return to Him. We are his treasured children.
‘The tragedy of modern faith is that we are no longer capable of being terrified.’
This statement baffles me. Why on earth would you want people to be terrified? I think God wants us to act out of love FOR Him, not fear OF Him. A relationship based on fear is, in my opinion, not a good one.
He leaves behind a great catalogue of music. Personally I have always felt that ‘Off the Wall’ was the pinnacle and I loved the old Motown stuff which is all on my iPod and regualarly has my foot tapping on the bus. Produced loads of good music since then but I prefer the old stuff. In spite of his success, he always seemed a bit of a sad case. Thankfully, our God is the God who can wipe all the crap away.
quite right, hayles.
james, i believe jf @ 25 was being sarcastic. also, although i don’t completely concur with jf’s second overstated point, i have sympathy for it given one or two comments here. sometimes the need in others to judge and to want to put limits on grace staggers me.
I’m sorry but I just don’t get how people read univeraslism in the Bible. It’s nice of course…
But is God always “nice” by our definition? Was Jesus? Not as far as I can see. I’d love it to be true because then I could look round the prisons I work in, or round the sreet where I live, or round all my lovely family and friends, and be totally confident that whatever choices they make they have a ticket for heaven. It would be nice… But that doesn’t make it right.
God loves us – so much he sent Jesus, for one thing. Jesus loves us – so much he went through with the cross, for one thing.
I’m sure it upsets God far more than it upsets us to think of anyone not being in the kingdom of God. I’m sure he’s grief-stricken by it. And his grace, his amazing grace, lets all sorts of really sinful folk come into his kingdom. The quantity or seriousness of our sin isn’t the issue.
But he doesn’t use conscription. He doesn’t drag us ALL in to his kingdom without our will being consulted.
The truth is that so many times the Bible uses brutally black and white, either/or images – the sheep and the goats, the born anew and the not born anew, the new creation and the “old man”, the citizens of the kingdom of God and the non-citizens of the kingdom of God, the wheat and the weeds, etc etc…
My friends have just got their lovely new adoptive child home to stay. He will, through adoption, be legally and finally and totally their son and it’s phenomenally moving to observe. John 1:12 says that to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – by adoption. And yes, even though it’s not as comfy and woolly and nice as I’m we would wish, it IS conditional.
I have no idea if Michael Jackson was adopted as God’s child, was born anew, was wheat rather than tare, was a sheep rather than a goat, was a new creation, was a citizen of the kingdom of God. I have no desire whatever to speculate, though of course I totally hope he was.
But what I DO know is that as I am someone who loves sin and doesn’t fully understand holiness, I am in no position to decide that God has no business not accepting everyone into his kingdom and rewriting the inconvenient bits of the Bible so I can declare with your assurance Jon that someone like MJ who dies is in heaven.
AnneDroid, there are lots of verses in the Bible that support the idea that one day all will reconciled with God.
I don’t think, either, that Jon has complete assurance. I’d describe it more as hope.
*all will be
Well said AnneDroid. From reading through the posts I’m humbled to think that God loves me and wants me to love him back and live for him even though I am much less than perfect. A very wise person once told me that you will never really know what is in someone else’s heart…so I think it’s best to steer clear of deciding if someone else has accepted God’s grace or not. Best to stick with what we know and put all our effort into accepting God’s grace ourselves and extending it to the people around us.
What I know about Michael Jackson is that God gave him some incredible talents which he used to entertain us fabulously. What I think is that he was a guy that needed a lot of love to make up for the lack of love he appeared to have in his early years. And what I hope is that he knew God’s love for him.
PS Great cartoon Jon – sparked thoughts in all directions…thanks
I do not find support for universalism in the Bible, although I agree it defiantly is a nice idea. But rather I do find support for inclusivism.
Jon – the second time today I have been reminded how hard it is to get your point across and understand others points on the internet with the lack of intonation. Especially when you don’t know the person.
I apologise for my misunderstanding JF.
I just wish the revolution in Iran was getting at least one tenth of the attention that MJ’s death has been getting.
Yep, been hearing all of that.
that’s thing about being a celebrity – all of that’s aired in public for all the world to see, and make money off of, whereas for us non-celebrities it usually stays within family and/or work, school, neighborhood, church.
went to big city 26 miles away and big band-anythingfrom1900to1950 radio station from northwest of here doesn’t carry there; but, jazz station from a bit south does, so I switch over to it.
DJ on it was saying do remember to pray for Michael Jackson’s family and friends, they’re people just like the rest of us and they’ve lost a loved one.
That was the most sensible and realistic thing I’ve heard about all of this.
The New Testament does give president that some people are saved by faith in Jesus without knowing Jesus, for example Abraham.
The problem is when we try to make this the norm rather than the exception.
I take the point above, how are we to know who is or is not in the Kingdom? To guess would be arrogant. But if someone has Jesus, and by definition the Spirit, in them then they would display fruits of the spirit. Was there any evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in MJ? I have no idea!
‘Everyone will get to heaven becasue God loves us’ seems partly wishful thinking, and partly a contradiction. What if some people would prefer not to spend eternity with god? Is he to force them to spend eternity with Him against their will? If not where will they go, except to a place where God is absent, which would be hell.
I had an interesting conversation with a quite bitter atheist friend.
He was extremely annoyed with me that I believed that a criminal (his example, though he used the word “scrote”) could turn to God and be able to go to heaven whereas, he said, just because he doesn’t believe in God or if God does exist he hates him, he wouldn’t get to heaven.
I was puzzled that he would even want to spend all eternity with a God he claims to hate (if he exists)!!
My only explanation, which I didn’t mention as it would have made things worse, is that in my friend there is a bit of the image of God and a wee bit deep down in him that would really quite like to go to heaven!
Sorry should have said my comment at #40 was in relation to ywp’s last paragraph at #39.
JF said ‘The more I see grief expressed publicly, the less I feel it is genuine. ‘
Why? The other day I was in the park by the river and there were bunches of flowers and cards tied to the railings where a man had died. They were from his family and friends. It was PUBLIC I have no doubt as to their genuineness.
I know many people who felt genuine grief at the death of Diana, including myself, and who went to put flowers in places in PUBLIC. It may be a different sort of grief from the death of someone we know personally, but we still have a relationship to that person and they are significant to us.
I’m sad for the life that MJ got himself (was) trapped in… I hope that he has now a peace that he didn’t seem to have in life…
I suspect that probably only Robb amongst ASBOers will agree with me that I think pretty well all MJ’s music was dull, overproduced and instantly forgettable…
I’ll go and get my coat now :-/
Well I’ve always found it the best music to do a workout to…that and Cher. It’s really energising. That’s where I really got into MJ – at the gym.
#39 ‘What if some people would prefer not to spend eternity with god? Is he to force them to spend eternity with Him against their will?’
You came to God freely, did you not? Why do you suppose that not everyone will eventually do the same, in the time of eternity?
It is unsound to argue that universal salvation and free will cannot go together. (Of course, you might not necessarily think that all WILL turn to God, but you cannot use free will as part of an argument against universal salvation. I don’t think God will force anyone to do anything, but hope that as the Bible says, all will be made clear to us, and every knee will bow, and every tongue confess, that Jesus is God – freely.)
Tiggy – I agree. The idea of ‘private’ grief is actually quite a Brtitish thing, and I have heard friends from other cultures talk about how different funerals are where they are from.
The media do jump on everything, but that’s life, that’s the age we live in. I don’t think we should let that make us feel we can’t feel grief or sadness over the death of people who have touched our lives in some way, even if we have never known them.
In the Bible it says that Jesus came to save the whole world. It’d be a pretty crummy God who couldn’t manage to save people. What about the lost sheep whom the shephard goes after and brings back to the fold.
There is a very strong Biblical case for Universalism. It’s what God wants and what he wants, I imagine He gets.
hi annedroid. i would not rewrite anything, nor do i have absolute assurance… just faith.
okay, right here, Matthew 10:32 and 10:33, Jesus is speaking:
“Therefore, everyone who acknowledges me before men and confesses me, I will also acknowledge him before my father who is in heaven and confess that I am abiding in him.”
“But whoever denies and disowns me before men, I will also deny and disown him before my father who is in heaven”
Now, could someone please show how Jesus assures universal salvation here?
But it’s really obvious that he’s talking about what goes on during our lives, not some ultimate salvation. He’s saying we cannot be connected to God if we deny him.
That doesn’t mean people can’t be saved ultimately. The people in Hell didn’t own Jesus, but he went down and rescued them.
Might oughtta look at John 3 where Jesus is answering Nicodemus, the Jewish Pharisee’s questions about how one can enter the kingdom of heaven.
Do that focusing on verses 5, and 15,16,17,18.
Now, use verse 18 to support universal salvation, please.
Re: That doesn’t mean people can’t be saved ultimately. The people in Hell didn’t own Jesus, but he went down and rescued them.
I’ll have to give you that.
Anyone who refuses rescue though, would be in a heap of trouble.
It’s probably safe to say there are people who would.
One of the assistant managers at a store I worked at said outright that yes, he knew, god wanted him, but “I’m running away from him as fast as I can, I don’t want to be part of that, don’t want anything to do with god.”
He wasn’t saying the church, or Christians, he was talking directly about God himself.
Which absolutely amazes me.
You know it and don’t want to use it.
I don’t understand that.
I really don’t.
Hopefully, he has by now changed his mind while he’s had a chance.
I don’t know what y’all believe about near-death experiences but one time heard on the radio a fellow who ws a bit of a rogue had one an wet to hell. It was not nice. Disturbingly NOT nice. He saw a light and cried out to Jesus – who then did come to get him. Some things happened in heaven.
And the fellow went and became a preacher and evangelist.
that pretty well supports Tiggy’s one point – dramatically changed lives are very hard to argue with.
Now we see in a glass darkly, but then we’ll see face to face. No one who truly sees God can refuse Him.
That’s an amazing story. I’ve heard accounts from all sorts of people who have had a NDE and seen the light. A guy at our church did.
Jon B – please check out your MySpace Inbox. Thanks, Tiggy.
Oh yeah, just remembered show was several years ago on Coast to Coast AM, which made it’s fame on UFOs and alien abductions – interesting they’d spend a whole night talking about Jesus saving people.
Jesus does get around, eh!
I abhor the idea that this life is an entrance exam for spending an eternity either in constant pain or constantly praising the God of the Old Testament, separated for ever from most of my friends and family. Given those choices I cling to the belief/hope that death truly is the end. Fortunately there is no real reason to believe otherwise, just ‘faith’, or what we choose to believe. My faith is pretty strong! And my faith leads me to want to make the very best of this life, and of ‘me’, and of family & friends, and of my talents and opportunities. In this life. And the good thing is that my faith leads me to judge myself, which in turn teaches me not to be judgmental of others.
#24 i am paid to work in a church. I would do a lot of what i do unpaid but not some. (this is a privileged position for me) I feel the pressure to be HOT for Jesus (If i understand your definition). from some of the parents to be glaring reflection of Jesus for the young people.
But i know this is not real which is why with the older teens i can have a real conversation that goes “I’m crap, I’ve sinned, i feel like poo, and i don’t know what i can share with you tonight except that God loves me” This conversation, i know to be more meaningful and relevant to them than “look at what you have to achieve”.
The media have been obsessed with the expenses scandal, now giving disproportionate attention to the death of Michael Jackson
Am I the only one who wonders if all this is being used as a convenient distraction from the massive issue of the global economic crisis?
What will happen if the banks etc collapse? It’s all too awful to contemplate, so maybe that’s why we crave distraction
Hey Will, be nice if same type of conversation was meaningful and relevant to their parents.
Uh-oh, better stop before it becomes,
“be nice if same type of conversation was meaningful and relevant to . . . me”
If you listen to the Christian Satellite Network you will get the real news about how our rights are being eroded almost daily and other news. Secular media is not covering it. I agree with #57. Our right to free speach is under attatck in a huge way, we WILL LOOSE this right. Check out the ACLJ and see what they are fighting for.
I don’t know if everyone will ‘get to’ heaven and I agree with JF that the idea that this life is an entrance exam for heaven is pretty offensive.
I do have faith
an utterly just God
an utterly loving God
an utterly giving God
an utterly fair God
a completely wise God
somehow, in amidst all these characteristics, I am confident that the best and right thing will be done by God for Michael Jackson, me and all my ASBOer friends…
unfortunately, I am not
utterly just and fair
utterly loving or
so I can’t possibly comment on the post-death future of any of us…
in the meantime, what I’ve learned about and from the Lord of heaven and earth makes me think that life before death is my business at the moment and
I guess that’s the sadness about MJ, I’m not sure that he had much of that
caroline too… “I agree with JF that the idea that this life is an entrance exam for heaven is pretty offensive.” me too.
life before death “I guess that’s the sadness about MJ, I’m not sure that he had much of that.” exactly.
You two guys just above, Caronline Too and Jon,
Have heard several folks in the reincarnation – new agey crowd say something ya gotta wonder about: that before we are born, our souls sort of “enter into contract” with the ‘higher power’ that we, (our sols) are to come here to learn certain things.
So, no, it wouldn’t be, to keep in the school theme, an ‘entrance exam’, but rather a ‘classroom’ with a ‘lesson plan’. And our choices and actions while here in these bodies show how well we are learning what we came here to learn.
Hmmmm . . . ya kinda gotta wonder if they might not at least partly be on to something.
I don’t think that you need to turn to the new agey approach, Forrest… I think that there’s a pretty good case from a Christian perspective that this life is where we ‘train’ for eternity,
I wouldn’t want to over emphasise that point, rather treat it as a word picture that might be helpful
#45 Hayles – Sp God is willing to wait for eternity to wait for people to turn to him.
I’d be happy to belive there’s some truth in that.
But does that mean, therefore, that people are able to turn away from God in heaven? Could we spend eternity moving fomr wanting to be close to God to wanting to be far away? That would sound like an extreme version of our lives now! Or is the turning only able to be one way?
There’s another obvious point – not an arguement against universalism, just a point – If those of us arguing against universalism and therefore (possibly?) seeing a greater need to evangelise in this life and were wrong, in terms of eternity no harm has been done. If Universalists are wrong, then lots of people are in a heap of trouble! The consequences for a bad theology of Universalism are much higher. For that reason I would have to be very very sure Universalists had it right before being willing to change my theology on this particular issue!
A few years ago I had a Christian boy knock on my door in my university halls and ask me if I believed in God yet (a few people knew I had been going to talks etc.) When I said I was still thinking about it, I was told that I shouldn’t be sitting on the fence because, and I quote, ‘you might die tonight.’
Not a nice experience.
In my mind I cannot reconcile belief in a holy God who IS love with a cut-off date for turning to Him. Jesus is described as the Saviour of all people, and I hope that He will never give up on us, particularly those that are broken and feel unloved.
With regards to your comment about being ‘very very sure Universalists had it right,’ I would say that it is more important to pray to God and look into your OWN heart for what you feel and think, rather than relying on other people; all of us are just stumbling around trying to work things out. I don’t think of Universalism as a brand of theology, as you seem to do, but more a quiet hope for grace beyond all our wildest expectations. I wouldn’t put it past God to sort this mess of a world out!
I’m not sure exactly what I think yet, but I sure do hope that God never gives up on us.
I think what is really important is to try and walk in truth and light, and have open and honest discussions about this kind of thing, rather than a debate that is characterised by closed-mindedness and fear. I hope that God will guide us all towards what is right and good, and forgive us for all of the mistakes we make when trying to figure this stuff out.
Luke 1:37 ‘For nothing is impossible with God.”
How could we enjoy Heaven if we knew there were people in Hell?
hayles @ 65. that’s a thoughtful response. i concur with your thoughts and particularly liked your last two lines. thank you.
Hayles – I’m sorry for your experience. Unfortunatly I am aware that people saying the wrong thing at the wrong times does have a profound affect on peoples spiritual journey.
As for looking into my own heart – I know what you mean in one sense – that God speaks to each of us through His Spirit. But I believe that is within a safeguarding framework of a community of believers and biblical tradition. Otherwise we are at risk of individualised christianity that is based more on our market orientated culture than the bible and tradition.
THerefore I do look to God to inform my theology directly, but if my understanding of the bible and church tradition and teaching come into conflict with what I feel God is telling me it flags up a warning. Not to disregard it, but to go through a process of testing it to ensure what I am thinking about has come from God.
Not every great idea that feels right comes and seems to be common sense has come from God, in my experience.
I’m remembering a line, ‘Perfect love casts out fear’, but I can’t remember where it’s from. Anyone know? I’m assuming one of Paul’s letters, maybe Corinthians 2.
Of course ‘perfect’ here means ‘complete’ or ‘whole’ rather than the way we use the word today.
Jon, do you have an email address or something similar I could send you a private message on?
Caroline Too – “I suspect that probably only Robb amongst ASBOers will agree with me that I think pretty well all MJ’s music was dull, overproduced and instantly forgettable…”
You have inspired me to write…….. and at comment 43 as well. Lots of thoughts until now but no need to write……….
What you just said has made me think about my growth as a human [in a really good way!]. I know exactly who I am [that is a lie] and what I like [probably a lie] now. I know that I like rock. Mostly cheesy rock. Quite a bit of punk. A lot of metal.
I know that I am seeing spinal tap on Tuesday at Wembley as a pre ordination retreat treat. Straight back ooop north for a bishoply interview on Wednesday morning!
I also like a whole host of [my words] “crap”. I like Tatu – all the things she said.
The thing is, before I ‘knew’ myself [which I clearly don't!!] I listened to all sorts. At primary school I bought [first album I bought!] A-ha – Hunting High and Low.
I also have Right Said Fred – Up. I replaced it with a CD a couple of years ago. Dr Ruth gave……… GIVES me major grief for that!! Have you listened to the trumpet solo in Deeply Dippy? I was expecting crappy fake keyboard. As a trumpet [mostly guitar but I can blow the odd note... the CD I am on is of me on trumpet] player…. I wish it was me
So…. MJ? I was a spiky haired 7 year old when bad came out. And I loved it. Still do! And then thriller.
Most of my girlfriends in my teens were MJ fans. I was less so. I love all of his songs that have either been massive in my life [I'm bad, I'm bad, you know it....] or have my two fav guitarists on them. Eddie Van Halen and Slash are all over his best tracks [IMO].
MJ was big in my life as a kid.
But that sums it up. He hasn’t done anything in nearly 20 years that wasn’t a negative headline!
59 – What do you mean? What is your evidence base?
Caroline Too – again
“I don’t know if everyone will ‘get to’ heaven and I agree with JF that the idea that this life is an entrance exam for heaven is pretty offensive.”
Welcome to my life. You articulate in 29 words the main dilemma in my head. I am not universalist. I also know that God loves and that God saves. The more ‘I know’ the less I think ‘I know’!!
BTW – I am now listening to Up – Right Said Fred
Hayles – I know how distasteful that experience can be. There is no relationship.
“You don’t need to know me or God you need to do what I say because you could die tonight”.
I am surprised anyone goes for it in a halls of residence. At that age I was invincible!
“You may die tonight….”
“yeah right, pass me the parachute……….”
Tiggy – 1 John 4:18
black or white with that sooo catchy slash loop… love it!
i’m at the moment listening to james bond themes (jazz styley!)
and all those happy people in the black or white video morphing in to one another. i love the bit where that girl wiggles her shoulders… makes me happy.
Thanks for that Robb. Is John who wrote the letters the same John who wrote the gospel or don’t we know?
So you’re going to be an ordained Cock-rocker? That’s cool. I like heavy guitar music in church.
Tiggy – Yep – I am going to be an ordained cock-rocking-harley-riding-long-haired-pierced-tattooed-bloke. I have also played heavy guitar in church once or twice… well maybe three or 15 times… or more…
Hmm….cock-rocking. I should think a Harley would do that!
Don’t you know about the John question? (see my above post) you must know if you’re getting ordained.
I love it when the music at Bath City Church sounds like a cross between U2 and Alanis Morrisette. There’s even a song/hymn that sounds just like an Alanis song and I have to sing it in a Canadian accent. I especially like it when the music is a bit dark.
Oh, G’night Birchy.
The John question? That’s a biggy.
Were an’y of them written by a John who is….. discernable? Probably not.
Personal opinion? The Gospel was written by a dude. Probably who had a community somewhere. They probably didn’t have much to do with others.
The first letter of John was written by a strong respected leader.
2+3 John are poscards to mates. Could be from anyone
Coming to vist, put up the airbed”
Revelation? Really interesting. 7 pot shots. Warm cold hot etc.
Then the vision. Apocalyptica is wonderful as a reader. Rubbish as an interpreter (I think Pope X will bring about the second coming etc!!).
So the answer I have?
I think [personally] that John (gospel) 1 John, John 2+3(together) and revelation all have different authors.
Where the hell did that ‘ come from?
I really enjoy the ‘Coming to vist, put up the airbed’ type stuff. I wish there were more of it. I like to be reminded that these are real people who didn’t just pontificate, but led real lives. It’s like ‘Blah de Blah de Blah, God sent his son to save us…. oh could you put the kettle on.’
Night all. x
I like to think that is why nicea gave us it
I have come (back) to this discussion at a superb moment to throw a spanner in the works.
Youth Worker Pete’s comment at #64 looks suspiciously like Pascal’s Wager. I’m sure everyone knows what that is, but just in case: it states that if you bet that there is an afterlife and you turn out to be wrong, you lose nothing, but if you turn out to be right you gain everything. This is used as an argument for behaving on the assumption that there is an afterlife.
But there is a reverse version of the same argument, although I’ve never heard anyone, even Richard Dawkins, using it: if you believe that there is an afterlife, you will never be proved wrong, whereas if you believe that there is no afterlife, you will never be proved right. Somebody who wanted to be really macho (for want of a better word) in the face of religion might therefore regard this as grounds for behaving on the assumption that there is no afterlife.
IMHO both arguments are nonsense. Someone who tries to wager with God can’t expect to be rewarded for it. And with regard to whether you should believe in an afterlife or not, what matters is what is true. But the trouble is that none of us know the truth. (See Hamlet’s soliloquy). So the best we can do is live on the basis that both this life and the next life are important.
I should be an RE teacher
I’ve never thought of Heaven as a reward, but then I tend to think it’s where we came from in the first place. So it’s just going home.
#83 – I was trying to use it tentatively aware of its short comings. Although it is fairly cumbersome and does not fall easy on postmodern ears, there is still some legs in it (to quote John Vergo).
Although the alternative wager makes even less sense! The idea that you can never be proved right means it is possible to be proven wrong but you never have the opportunity to gloat (not that we would be gloating in heaven, of course) – not very macho!
Living the best for this and the next life (as you recommend), I would argue, is more intune with Pascal than you may have given it credit for. It is still based on the assuption there is an afterlife and if not, who cares, were in perpetual unconciousness!
Well it’s what you’d expect from a mathematician.
I thought John Vergo was a snooker player…?
“not that we would be gloating in heaven, of course) – not very macho!”
I hadn’t realised we had to be macho in Heaven….strange idea. And what is specifically unmacho about gloating? Do you see gloating as feminine?
Some of MJ’s music was brilliant – I went through a phase when I was obsessed with Thriller … learnt the spoken bit at the end complete with scary laugh and then repeated it oevr and over for weeks. And then we did a dance for it at school (hey, I was about 10 alright??!)
Robb (72) – I also own Up and Hunting High and Low … both replaced as CD’s. lol
87 – lol, Tiggy, it’s so hard to be clear over the internet when my grasp of English is, at best, loose!
John Vergo – the snooker player – also commentates, and its one of his catch phrases. Kind of.
As for gloating, what I was trying to refer to was not having the opportunity to be proved right was not very macho, but gloating wasn’t supposed to come into it. My bad use of brackets.
Have I cleared that up beyond any shadow of a doubt now?
Tiggy (#87): what grounds do you have for thinking I’m a mathematician??
Oh sorry, you must mean Pascal rather than me…
He invented the calculator so he was probably a calculating kind of guy.
I thought you meant Terry Virgo – whoever that is – but I’ve seen him mentioned on Christian websites and I remember thinking, that can’t be the snooker player.
the biblical ‘kingdom of heaven’ is everything restored to it’s correct order, isn’t it? new heavens, new earth etc.
What is the earth’s ‘correct order’!?
No hangovers for a start. And less bloody seagulls! And people would know when cardboard recycling day was. And my clothes would fit.
jf… harmony? don’t know. bible’s pretty scant on detail. extrapolations can be made i guess, but i’ll leave that job to extrapolators.
Harmony? Can’t we just put a Bee Gees record on and be done with it!
Tiggy you at least make it sound inviting.
What Heaven as one long Duvet Day, shared or otherwise?
‘Architect Louis I Kahn expresses his deep experience of the cosmic order which just is,
I tried to find what Order is. I was excited about it, and wrote many, many words of what Order is. Every time I wroe something, I felt it wasn’t quite enough. If I had covered, say, two thousand pages with just words of what Order is, I would not be satisfied with this statement. And then I stopped by not saying what it is, just saying, ‘Order is’. And somehow I wasn’t sure it was complete until I asked somebody and the peson gI asked said, ‘You must stop right there. It’s marvelous, just stop right there, saying, ‘Order is.”
Original Blessing – M. Fox
Maybe the order has been there all along and we haven’t been recognising it. Surely order is about how we relate to one another and to the cosmos?
“Surely order is about how we relate to one another and to the cosmos?” yup. as i have banged on about to the point of boring myself… i really do believe that relationship is everything.
It’s still hard to imagine what a new earth would look like – I mean at the close up level. Would we even have cities?
I still maintain heaven is not after you die but a state to achieve during this life, even as a goal for this evening, or tomorrow, probably with bits of hell in between, but maybe more heaven as we get better at it.
Anything else makes no sense to me at all.
JF, that understanding of heaven doesn’t provide much hope for those who have had their lives destroyed by tragedy, or for those who have been born into a war-torn country where starvation and death are facts of every day life.
How do you propose that they ‘achieve’ this ‘state’ during ‘this life’?
A state to perceive, rather than achieve perhaps. I have moments when I feel that I see Heaven. Ooh, I feel another song coming on!
Maybe I’m just easily pleased – but I feel blissed out at the idea I had this evening of attaching coloured lights (candles in different coloured glass jars) to my balcony. I think beauty brings us closer to Heaven. I’m busy creating Heaven in a 4 x 2 space.
Shame about the seagull poo!
Hayles it is definitely true that some people have it much harder than others in this life, but I am talking of a spiritual state, which Jesus showed can be sought and achieved under even the most trying circumstances. This is why he said that his was the way. I just don’t believe in an afterlife and, given most Christians’ vagueness / infrequency in talking about an eternity in ‘paradise’, I suspect that neither do they. Listen to your Christian friends in general conversation: they are probably more excited about Greenbelt than about heaven. Nor do I see any advantage in giving ‘hope’ to those in difficult circumstances, if that hope has no foundation. That has no merit whatsoever.
Interesting idea, JF.
So, when Jesus said to the thief on the cross: ‘Today you will be with me in paradise,’ what do you think he meant by that?
(Sorry for asking you questions, I’ve just never heard of this perspective before – thanks for answering them! )
That is a good question, Hayles! I don’t know.
For a start, though, I don’t believe in the infallibility of the Bible, heathen that I am, due to the tortuous process of its delivery to us and to the necessary limitations of its translation. Hence I don’t give too much thought to specific literal meaning of individual sentences. I tend towards trying to understand the general import of what a parable teaches or what an instruction or guiding principle says.
What is meant by e.g. “paradise”, or “you will be with me” could be open to interpretation.
Note also that the thief did not say, “I believe you are the Son of God and that you are dying for my sins”. He just said he accepted responsibility for his actions in this life and expressed faith that Jesus would somehow survive death and reach paradise, asking to be remembered. So can we conclude that you do not need to believe Jesus was Son of God in order to get to heaven? Probably not – if that does not fit with what you think or believe.
It seems to me that everyone applies the filters to the Bible to draw the conclusions that help them in their course of life. It can only be described as “selectivity”. As I have no belief in the afterlife and, as I have said, the majority of the many, many Christians who I have known in my lifetime gave me very little sense that they truly believed in one, I guess I am not motivated to spend a lot of time exploring the idea and this dictates how I read the text. But I think it is very important to be honest enough to admit that, in many instances when we read the Bible, we are selective about how we understand things, based on things we (want to) believe, according in turn to what we believe already before we start. That is why there is not just one Christian church, but in fact as many different individual belief sets as there are Christians! This leads me to conclude that it is not the Bible that dictates beliefs, but that we dictate them for ourselves and, for some, the Bible is a handy support in confirming these, especially when read a certain way.
Through my own filter, I do not see repentance as part of an entry ticket to heaven, but as part of a step on life’s path. If I truly repent of an act, I am less likely to do it again; this means I can devote effort to overcoming other aspects of “me” that separate me from God. And this works better if I accept my own responsibility for this act (rather than accepting the oppressive nonsense of original sin). Jesus may have been telling that thief that, having taken responsibility for his action, the thief was joining him achieving dominion over sin, even as he hung on that cross. But there’s a lot of my selectivity in that interpretation, even though I took the trouble to read a bit about what “paradise” could possibly mean (from sources with which I agreed, of course) and, yes, it fits!
As you may have noticed, there was a parallel ASBO thread in recent days where I was simply trying to get someone to admit that they were choosing to understand the Bible (selectively) according to their own agenda, as indeed we all do. But I got nowhere, because it is easier if we believe our opinions are God-given and not our own: easier… but not entirely honest.
Now, back to the thief on the cross… I can accept that John may have had his attention diverted by any of the spectacular events that were unfolding, or may have been stood further away; he doesn’t mention any conversation with the thieves. But Matthew and Mark are close enough to hear the people mocking Jesus, yet they do not record the conversation with the ‘repentant’ thief at all!
In fact, Matthew (ch 27 v 44) and Mark (ch 15 v 32) are unequivocal in reporting that the thieves both mocked Jesus to the last. To me, this is an indication that, of the ‘authors’ (or editors etc.) of the texts we now take to be the Bible, at least one in three may well have been given to ‘embellishment’. It’s Matthew and Mark versus Luke, so maybe you can understand why, while I found your question very thought-provoking, I don’t feel that a few words in one gospel compel me to re-think the miniscule likelihood that I live on after my death and the thoughts and memories that are products of the synapses of my brain will somehow carry on when my brain is dust.
‘Listen to your Christian friends in general conversation: they are probably more excited about Greenbelt than about heaven.’
Well Heaven’s rather an unknown, whereas they’ve probably been to Greenbelt before or at least seen the website. How can you believe in somewhere that doesn’t have a website?
Tiggy (#107) — what do you think anyone believed in before there were websites?! You might even be able to remember yourself.
If many people are looking forward to Greenbelt more than they are looking forward to heaven, perhaps it’s because a) Greenbelt is (hopefully) much closer in time, and b) we have a much better idea of what will happen at Greenbelt, even if the timetable hasn’t been published yet. Greenbelt is literally more concrete.
Well I was only using Greenbelt as an example. Given that heaven will be an eternity of ‘paradise’ and finally meeting / knowing God, why is there not more excitement about it?
I honestly sense a total lack of conviction.
Yeah it was a joke, Rebecca. I can remember way before websites.
People who are suffering and can’t see an end to it tend to get excited about Heaven – or they used to. I’m thinking particularly of some of the words of negro spiritual songs.
I believe in it, but I don’t think it’ll be like we expect. I think we’ll laugh when we get there and it will all seem normal and we’ll feel at home. But then I think we came from there.
Note: I have not read all the posts.
Frankly, if I had had an opportunity to meet with Jackson I would have gotten him talking about Jesus just to see what the score was…I know what you’re going to say, and I’m not saying he went to hell, but it seems a little naive to infer that poor MJ was “crucified” by a bunch of people that just didn’t understand him (insert something about fruit bearing here)…the more I think about it, the more absurd this particular ASBO Jesus is…and not only because MJ is on the cross (although that does take it to a whole different level), but because it would be absurd no matter who was on the cross…unless it was Jesus.
Why do you say that? Jesus wasn’t the only person who’s been crucified, even literally.
That’s true, but the parallel being drawn here is not with just some guy that was crucified, but with Jesus of Nazareth. Of course, I’m not a full time subscriber to this site or the comments. I made the assumption that the theological stance here was monotheistic Christianity of the exclusive variety as opposed to the Christ was just “a” son of God among many inclusive variety. If this is a false premise then I understand the panel better.
Well we are all sons and daughters of God. It doesn’t say in the cartoon, ‘THE Son of God’ It appears to be more about the attitude of the crowd than anything else.
Sure, we are all sons and daughters of God in the sense that He is our Creator, however not everyone has been adopted into His family via faith in Jesus Christ. As to the subject matter of the panel, I’m not sure it is fair to say that it speaks only of the crowd. The implication seems to be that MJ is a son of God in the adopted sense rather than the created sense. While this may be the case, the panel seems to “settle” the issue based on MJ’s position as “King of Pop” and the groovy stuff he did for the world.
Obviously only the creator of the panel can say what “all” the meaning(s) of the panel is/are in the end. Either way, I wouldn’t classify it as the “best” way to get across a message about anyone. I’m not assigning some “sin value” to making a cartoon that parallels the crucifixion of our Savior…I’m just saying it’s not the best option in my opinion.
Surely the cartoon highlights the nature of humans in a modern media fuelled world to convict/crucify people with dubious evidence. The parallel being with what happened to The Son of God.
Perhaps…however, as your own assertion shows, this is not something “modern” although certainly we are effected by media. Christ was crucified without the aid of Internet, TV, etc.
As to dubious evidence…well, I guess we will have to disagree to the level of dubiousness of the evidence that MJ was cracked…now, this doesn’t speak to his salvation, but wow…
Again, whatever the parallel is, I don’t think using “the” crucifixion is the best way to go about it. Whoever is “crucified” by the media or by us due to the media is in no way analogous to what Christ went through on the cross for us.
Obviously I didn’t say that the media was necessary to crucify Christ so please don’t put words into my mouth.
Hype and a mass outpouring of public opinion stirred up by the people who wanted to get their own way certainly helped tie Pilot’s hands. This is in much the same way that the ‘modern media’ (who weren’t present at Jesus trial – to stem any confusion this statement may cause) do today.
As for MJ’s ‘crackedness’ – we have what was presented to us. Snippets of a recluse presented by people with one goal – making money.
At no point have I made a statement about his salvation one way or another. I don’t think I ever would as I am not Jesus and I don’t sit on the throan of judgement.
BTW – not a particular MJ fan. More interested in the issues that his life raised about the society we live in.
I wasn’t trying to claim that you said media was necessary to crucify Christ…I apologize.
I would argue that we have more than “snippets”, but there isn’t much point in going down that road. Cracked or not, the man is dead.
I’m with you, I’m not much of a fan, but am intrigued by the response to his death…I even heard talk of a national holiday!
People say all sorts of things at the death of a celebrity. We had similar when Princess Di died. Public holidays, queen of hearts etc…
My wife said “how do they think it makes his real brothers feel when they see news articles from complete strangers saying ‘it is like losing a brother’. It is nothing like losing a brother.”
don’t turn down a national holiday, aaron!
i guess, as the creator (well, not ‘the’ creator), my reasons for doing this cartoon were as a result of the awful and nasty martin bashir interview with mj… this interview really was like the kiss of judas… and once turned over to the wolves, mj’s character was assassinated, with relish and for profit… none of it substantiated. this is more a cartoon on human nature. some shout ‘crucify him’ and some don’t, no matter what stories are thrown at them.
btw… not an mj fan… but think a few of his tracks are utterly brilliant. through all the tittle tattle and hellish nonsense that the guy endured, all i saw was a broken man, who seemed a bit mad, with a soft heart.
I think his best work was done with famous rock guitarists – but I would wouldn’t I
i do too robb… although you’d have to have a darned hard heart not to get some enjoyment out of a couple of those jackson 5 hits.
haha! it’s just occurred to me that gilbert o’sullivan must have based his wardrobe on the young michael jackson. brilliant!
Pingback: Interesting Stuff « Jonathan Brink
Above cartoon is cited and linked by Becky Garrison on Killing the Buddha.
August 6, 2010
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