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Artist, Teacher, Blogger concerned with American culture, its effect on faith and how Christianity effects American culture, specifically, what the word "christian" means to Americans today.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Evil Makes You Stupid, Truth Makes You Free




“Speak truth to stupid”.  This is actually a line from the pilot of Aaron Sorkin’s, “Newroom” that inspired this art piece.  It was intended to be a triptych typography piece, but I later turned it into this short video you see here.  The first panel reads, “Evil Makes You Stupid”, which is a personal quote of mine.  Having worked in ministry and seen how people make the same mistakes over and over (I’ve seen this repeatedly) when you tell people the truth about something and they are not ready to receive it or change, they look at you with glazed-over eyes, as if you’re speaking another language and go… “uh… no, that’s not it”.  That is stupid!  Why? Not because they didn’t have access to the knowledge they needed.  They did.  You told them… or someone else told them… or life repeatedly has told them, and yet they can’t receive it because they have rejected knowledge… they’ve rejected truth. 

Now I know that it is not exactly PC (politically correct) to use the word “stupid” with relation to people due to its negative connotations, but let’s take a look at what the word “stupid” actually means.  According to Merrian Webster’s dictionary, “stupid” is defined as, “not intelligent: having or showing a lack of ability to learn and understand things.  Not sensible or logical.  Not able to think normally because you are drunk, tired, etc.  Dulled in feeling or sensation”.  Based on the actual definition of the word, I think that we can all attest to having done stupid things in the past, myself included.  Times when we didn’t think things through or ignored the preverbal “handwriting on the wall”, but this is not an acceptable way of life, especially not for a believer.  The part of this definition that is the most troubling to me is “having or showing a lack of ability to learn or understand things” which is why some people make the same mistakes repeatedly and never seem to acknowledge their responsibility in what has taken place.   They have, either consciously or unconsciously, rejected knowledge… or rather truth and to reject truth isn’t just stupid because when we reject truth or the Spirit of Truth, we’ve rejected God. For God is the spirit of Truth [John. 14:17, 16:13].   Evil causes us to reject truth every time.  It blinds us to the truth of the things that are before us.  Speaking truth to someone who rejects knowledge is like speaking a foreign language to a person who has no knowledge of that language.  The words that are coming out of your mouth make absolutely no sense to them.  Why? Because evil has blinded them to truth. 

The second panel of the triptych is, “Speak Truth To Stupid”.  There’s a beautiful speech given by MacKenzie McHale (played by Emily Mortimer), Will McAvoy’s executive producer and former lover, where MacKenzie states that you have to “speak truth to stupid”.  MacKenzie wants Will to be the jouralist he used to be and not pander to the network executives and the public for ratings.  She wants Will to treat his viewing public intelligently and “speak truth to stupid”… which she sees as the inflammatory tabloid journalism that out there, filled with opinion and sensationalism and very little fact or thoughtful commentary.  The only way to combat the “stupid” that’s out there is to speak truth… and she’s right. 

As believers, we have to speak truth to stupid.  It allows those of us who are merely having a stupid moment the opportunity to change or correct our thinking and get back on course.  As believers, we have the responsibility to speak truth, God’s truth as it has been revealed to us by the Holy Spirit because we are saved by the blood of the Lamb and the words of our testimony [Rev. 12:11], to share the Good News to “Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” [Acts 1:8]  “If anyone has an ear, let him hear”. [Matthew 11:15] When God’s people, those who believe, hear truth it resonates with us on a very deep level.  It may not even make any sense at the time, but the person will have an understanding that what they are hearing is, in fact true, and nothing else will be needed.  It sticks.  Truth is powerful!  Truth is God!

Now the reason we have to speak truth to stupid is the third panel, “Truth Makes You Free”.  John 8:32 states, “… and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”, and it does because it makes us free to choose.  God gives us the freedom to accept or reject the truth… which means we have the freedom to accept or reject Him.  This is what free will is all about, and he has given each person on earth the freedom to choose.


I thank God that He has given us the freedom to choose… that our worship is not forced… that instead… His love draws us… woos us, so that we as believers (the Church) may truly become the bride of Christ.  [Ephesian 5:26-27]

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Living On The Interest

I have a stock account, meager though it may be, I definitely have a stock account ( two actually). One of the reasons I started buying stock is because I have a dream... possibly a delusion of granduer... I don't know, of being able to do something that people call “Living on the Interest ”meaning that you have enough stock in your porfolio, enough savings put away, that the interest alone will take care of you. It's part of my retirement plan.

I'm working on it. Right now I have a total of maybe oh... seven stock, only one of which is actually profitable, but that 's the goal. And hopefully, that will change for the better. And I'll keep putting a little bit extra away to make sure that I'm able to continue to build that account.

But I began to realize as I was sitting here... actually lying awake in bed at 4 o'clock in the morning... after having had a couple of surgeries and preparing for another one, that I have a different account and that that account is important, because with that account, I am currently living on the interest... and it's not interest on a treasure I've accumulated, but the interest earned by those who deposited before me. People, men and women in my family who have gone before me who made covenant with God... who have served Him, who have loved Him... who have received promises from Him and although they may be long gone, I am living on the interest of their deeds.

One was Charles Kirkman-Bey. He was my maternal great-great grandfather... my maternal grandfather's maternal grandfather. He was a leader of the Moorish Science Temple of America, a group started by the same founder as the Nation of Islam and he ran it in Chicago for almost 30 years.

Kirkman-Bey was a man that believed that truth transcended culture and religion and that there was truth in all of the major faiths. He took parts of Taoism, Buddhism, early Christianity, Freemansonry Islam and Gnostism. He looked at all of these faiths and saw truth in them all and combined them and helped to create the Moorish Science Temple of America, and lead the Chicago temple from 1929 to 1959. From all accounts, when he died in 1959, he left a legacy... a legacy that still exists ... a legacy of honor and compassion that exists to this day, and not just in the city of Chicago.

Another person in my family was my Aunt Willie. She was known on the northside of Chicago for feeding people during the Depression. She had a gift for talking to people, especially young men, and leading people into right action... to be an asset to their communiity instead of deficit. She had no official training, was not an official priest of any denomination, but she had the heart of one, and hated to see decent people suffer. She was single-handedly responsible for bringing our family to Chicago and she was able to do this on a cleaning woman's meager pay. When she died in 1977, there were so many cars in the funeral procession, you couldn't see the end, and these were not family members, but people in the community, black and white, rich and poor, who came to pay their respects. She left such a strong legacy in Chicago so that when I moved back to Chicago in 2007, there were still people that remembered her and because of her deeds, looked after me... I lived on her interest.

Another is my fraternal grandmother, Luna Gaddis, who was known for praying for people. Again, not in a denomination that honored women ministers, but who ministered. No title necessary. I didn't know her well, but when I went to her funeral, there was standing room only in the church and people overflowed out into the street and it wasn't just family. It was the people she had loved and prayed for and counselled who were in tears and weeped heavily at the loss of someone who had poured so much into their lives. I had the opportunity to hear person after person talk about how she had counselled them, how she had prayed for them, how she had helped them see that there was a call on their life. I live on her interest.

My great grandmother, ... my maternal grandmother's mother, Sophie Virginia Howard (her maiden name)... was the “family elder”. On my mother's side of the family, we have a designated family elder who is the head of the family and it's normally one woman. She was known for being a “holy woman” and not just by members of the family, but by the people in the community. She died before my mother was born, so I never got a chance to meet her, but I did get a chance to speak with my last “family elder”, Alene Matthews, Sophie's granddaughter, before she passed, who imparted some knowledge about Sophie Virginia, who I'm named after (Virginia's my middle name) and I understand that I'm living on her interest as well. Sophie Virginia was not just a woman of prayer, she was a healer. She was of Cherokee, English and African ancestry and although she attended a Baptist church, her faith was closer to Cherokee/Christian practices. She was known for being a godly and decent woman... and today I live on the interest.

Now I personally, have done some things to deposit into this account. I haven't just completely relied on the interest acrued by others deeds. I've attempted in my actions in my life, to make deposits myself, but I know that the reason I exist isn't necessarily just because of the deposits I've made, but because of the deposits that were made long before me... long before I was born... long before I was even thought of. Those deposits are covenant with God, made by members of my family for the care and well being of their bloodline... That “their seed shall remain [Ecclesiaticus 44:13] and God keeps His word. I live, because of their interest. I live because of those covenants. I live and move and have my being this day, because God honor's His word... because “God magnifies His word above His name” [138:21].

Long after the bodies are gone, long after the deeds are done, long after all this is said and done, what remains is what we have with our heavenly Father, what remains is that interest, that deposit that we made in faith, that deposit that we made knowing that we served a God that would never leave nor forsake us [Deut. 31:6] that God is true and cannot lie... that heaven and earth shall pass away before his word returns unto him void. [Matt. 24:35] Even when it seems like things aren't going well, the fact that we remain is evidence of that covenant, and we live on the interest.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Accident Is Just As Important As The Intention

Hello again!  It's been a while since my last post.  I've been busy... I moved (yeah!). I started a new job (gotta pay the bills) and I've been busy fixing the place up and getting settled.

Here's my latest post entitled, "The Accident Is Just As Important As The Intention".   I'm trying something new this month.  I decided to upload a recorded post.  I was a little low on time and found myself  "thinking out loud" (i.e., talking to myself) about the subject, to come up with something and decided an audio recording would work best.  I've included the painting discussed and a guy I work (thank you Dave) put this file together for me.  Just click on the link below



I hope you like the new format.  I will probably be doing more of these in the future.  I would love to hear your feedback.

Sincerely,

Felicia V. Gaddis

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Let Me Tell You About Mr. Big


I was talking to a collegue the other day over lunch, and somehow we got on the subject of “Sex In The City”, the now cancelled HBO show about the friendship of four New York professional women and their adventures in trying to find love in the big apple. Now, you may not think that a show like “Sex In The City” is something that I would (or that should be) discussed in a devotional blog about christianity, but if it weren't for this show, Ikthos as it is would not exist.

I became a fan of the show after it went into syndication (I didn't have cable) and began airing on my local television station... so basically, I've only seen the sanitized version of the show, but I still love it, because of the relationships between these four New York women, Miranda ,Samantha, Charlotte and of course Carrie. Sarah Jessica Parker's voiceover of Carrie Bradshaw's column is what caused me to re-think the way I approached Ikthos and gave me the courage to make it more personal and conversational although anyone who's ever seen the show knows our subject matter couldn't be more different.

If you've seen the show (or the movies for that matter) you know the ongoing relationhip Carrie has with Mr. Big. Mr. Big is the love of Carrie's life. He's smart, successful, wealthy, tall, dark and handsome... but unfortunately for most of the show's run, completely unavailable. Either because he afraid of commitment to Carrie or because he commited (married) to someone else. At the end of the first film, Carrie and Mr. Big finally tie the knot in a very simple, unceremonious ceremony at the Justice of the Peace... and of course the girls, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte are all there. This is Carrie's happily-ever-after... she's finally nabbed Mr. Big... the fish that always mananged to get away from her, and as a viewer, I was very happy for Carrie. She'd been through a lot to get this man to meet her at the altar, in fact, her left her at the altar at the beginning of the film, but Carrie and I have a very different idea of what triumphant love is... about what's worth fighting for... about who Mr. Big really is. Let me tell you about Mr. Big.

In Carrie's world, Mr. Big is a man who is afraid of commitment. Who shutters at the thought of emotional intimacy and vulnerability and who only understands Carrie's value to him after he marries another woman,divorces this woman and leaves Carrie at the altar. Only then can he come to terms with the fact that Carrie is the one for him and in a seeming sign of defeat... like raising a white flag in battle... does Mr. Big marry Carrie and I guess this is victory, but thank God my Mr. Big... God in the person of Jesus Christ, isn't this way.

He is faithful... always, and longs for intimacy with is people... no fear of getting too close here. And as for commitment, we are the one's who fear committing to Him. He never leaves or forsakes us [Deut. 31:6; Heb. 13:5]. He's the one who pursues us, because he first loved loved us and He waits patiently for us to understand and appreciate His undying, eternal love for us.

Now I'm not saying that we can't love others, of course we can but I am saying that without understanding God's love for us, the ongoing love affair God has for and with His people... with His Church, the Bride of Christ, we will never be able to love others with abandon. We will never know what it truly means to be loved... we will never be able to impart that love to others.

I'm not saying that understanding God's love for us is revelation that you get all at once. I believe it's a life-long process that we learn through experience, with God, with others and through prayer and how we handle events in our lives, but it a love relationship that we as individuals should want to pursue and is the model for every loving relationhip we have after.

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— for your loveis more delightful than wine. Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the young women love you! Take me away with you—let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers.”

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Friday, December 6, 2013

How Will You Receive The Presence Of God This Year?

Happy Holidays everyone! As much as I dislike the expression “Happy Holidays” (not personal enough for me) it is the most expedient way of addressing all of the holidays we celebrate at this time of year. With Thanksgiving, we gave thanks for what we have already received... the blessing of friends and family and prosperity of the previous year. With the upcoming Christmas and New Years, beyond all of the shopping, travelling and holiday festivities, we are anticipating the birth of Emanuel, God with us, and the blessing that will bring, but how do you receive Emanuel, especially since we prepare for this every year? What makes this Christmas, this Noel any different or more special than the many others we've celebrated in the past? How will you receive the presence of God this year?

Matthew 8:5-8:13
“And when he was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth in the home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And he saith unto him, I will come and heal him. And the centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man of authority, having under myself soldiers: and I say to this one Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

And when Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no , not in Israel....

And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way as thou has believed, [so] be it done unto thee and the servant was healed that very hour.”

Genesis 18:1-15
“And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; and he lifted up his eyes and looked and, lo, three men stood by him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, and said, My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant. Let a little water I pray you be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: and I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And thy said, So do, as thou hast said.

And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetch a calf tender and good, and give it unto the young man; and he hasted to dress it. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them: and he stood by them under the tree, and thy did eat.

And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold in the tent. And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life, and lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

Now Abraham and Sarah were old, and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed, I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.Then Sarah denied, saying I laughed not; for she was afraid and he said, Nay: but thou didst laugh.

Admittedly, these are not your typical Christmas passages, but they are two very different examples of how people, myself included, receive the presence of God...one with feelings of unworthiness and shame, the other with great joy and celebration.

In the first example, the centurion sees and meets Jesus and “beseeches” Jesus to heal his servant of the palsy. “Beseech” in Merriam-Webster's dictionary is defined as, “to beg for urgently or anxiously; to request earnestly: implore. Implore is defined as, “to call upon in supplication; to call or pray for earnestly: entreat. Entreat is defined as, ”negociate; plead. So it is safe to say that the centurion cared greatly for his servant and that his was a whole-hearted, urgent plea... not a passing request, for the healing of his servant.

Jesus, in his love and mercy, agrees to come to the centurion's home and heal the servant, but the
Centurion refuses Jesus entry to his home, stating that he “is not worthy” to have Jesus under his roof, and instead, he tell Christ to “just say the word, and my servant shall be healed”. Jesus commended him for his faith and goes on to chide Israel for not having that level of faith, which is true, they didn't have faith in Him, but I wonder, was this the best way to receive the presence of God?

In Genesis 18, Abraham sees the Lord, which some call the Christophony or the pre-incarnate Christ,1 on the plains of Mamre. When he sees the Lord, Abraham requests that they “pass not away” and invites the “three men” to take bread and water, rest under a tree and washes their feet. He has his servants prepare a feast for them... killing a tender calf and serving milk and butter. The “three men” (could this be the godhead?) stay and bless him and his household and promise that Abraham shall have a son by his wife Sarah, who was past her child-bearing years... and they do all this without Abraham asking for anything. The Lord saw the need, and fulfilled it beyond Abraham's wildest dreams, promising what naturally was not physically possible.

I understand the Centurion's feelings of unworthiness. In reality, none of us are worthy of God's blessings, “for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God [Rom. 3:23] and if we say that we have not sinned, we call God a liar and the truth is not in us [1Jn 1:10] for it is not possible for God to lie [Heb. 6:18], but should this feeling of shame... which some call “Bread of Shame”, stop us from seeking the presence of God?

Should we allow our unworthiness to separate us from our savior, the one who was unjustly persecuted, unjustly prosecuted and viciously crucified... in order that we might have communion with our Creator and heavenly Father... the one who came to reconcile us back to God? God forbid! What then would be the reason of his suffering and the price He paid for us? What then would be the benefit of His blood shed for us... it would be of no value... again, God forbid! When Jesus was crucified, the curtain in the temple that separated the people from the Holy of Holies was torn from end to end [Matt. 27:51] exposing and reuniting God with his people. God was no longer shrouded behind a heavy curtain with the fear of death if they came near unworthy. They, and we today, can come boldly to the throne of Grace [Heb. 4:16] without fear, without dread and enjoy the presence of the Lord, like Abraham did on the plains of Mamre with joy and celebration and with anticipation of Emanuel, God with us, supplying all our need... the need we are aware of and the need we haven't the courage to speak.

This Christmas, my sincerest prayer for myself and for all, is that we shed our shame and feelings of unworthiness so that we may truly be able to celebrate God with us and all that the blessing of His presence brings. Have a very Merry and Blessed Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Love to all...

From,
Felicia V. Gaddis
Creator of Ikthos






1. Definition of “Christophany” taken from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christophany



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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What's In Your Memo?

As believers in Christ, we are given a spiritual birthright, by the blood of Jesus, to many benefits and blessings But with those benefits and blessings, come responsibilities, which should not seem unreasonable to us. After all, Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice, his life, that we might have these blessings. That we might be able to cry unto God “Abba Father”. [Rom. 8:15] Our job as believers is to find out along with our rights, what our responsibilities are... and they intensify as we mature spiritually. The greater the blessings we walk in, the greater the responsibility. We need to find out what's in our memo.

When I first started working in television, I worked freelance for a small production company that used something called deal memos as employment contracts. The deal memo laid out your responsibilities to the company/show you were working on and it also stated how much you would be paid and when for the services you rendered.

For the third show I worked on for this company, “Story of a People: Three Cities Revisited”, I was hired as the Associate Producer and was responsible for hiring crew for our out-of-town shoots. I typed up the deal memo for the field producer I hired in Atlanta and discussed the terms and compensation with her over the phone. I faxed the memo to her for approval and had her sign, fax and mail a hard copy of the signed memo back to me. This was proof legally, that we both understood and agreed to the terms of the memo and that full payment was conditional upon her delivering all of the items requested in that memo, i.e., beauty shots of Atlanta (day and night), b-roll of the family she was interviewing (their home, neighborhood, their place of work), and an informative interview with at least all of the questions I sent her answered). This was the bare minimum that was required for her to receive payment and a show credit.

The morning of the shoot, I spoke to her briefly with some last minute information and asked how she felt about the shoot. She seemed excited and eager to get started which was a relief to me because I would have preferred doing the interviews myself, but the show couldn't afford the travel expense of me going to Atlanta. I had to relinquish absolute control of this shoot and trust someone I had never met, to do my bidding for me. I had to trust that she would ask the questions I sent her, that she'd read the research material I sent her and that she would build a rapport with the family she was interviewing. The interview subject has to trust that they are in good hands so that they feel safe enough to really open up. You get a much better interview that way. I also had to trust that she had good instincts and would be able to recognize if the subject said something during the interview that was useful but maybe off script, and she would know how to follow that line of questioning and tie it back into the questions I'd sent her. I had to trust that she would get all of the above-mentioned elements, in the proper format, back to me in a timely manner because we were going to edit within few days of the shoot. There was a lot riding on this total stranger and our initial conversation did put my mind at ease.

I spoke to her again at the end of the day. She joyfully exclaimed that everything had gone according to plan and that I would be pleased with the outcome, so you can imagine my surprise and terror when I looked at the footage and saw that some of the b-roll I needed (beauty shots of Atlanta at night and the work location of the subject) weren't there. In a panic, I picked up the phone and called this field producer to ask what on earth had happened. She then informed me that she and the crew had been caught in traffic, the day ran long and there just wasn't enough time to get all the shots I wanted. After all I wasn't really paying her that much so this was the best she could do. I then took her back to that deal memo we'd discussed in depth and that she'd signed and faxed back to me. I informed her that as per the terms of the deal memo, she was in breach of contract and that ANY further payment was contingent upon her delivering all the items listed in that memo. She hadn't been coerced into signing it. If she thought the pay was not sufficient or the work load too heavy, she had every opportunity to negotiate different terms or not take the job, but if she wanted the remainder of her pay (she was paid half up front), she would have to deliver the the missing elements that I had requested, and fast! Two days later, I received the missing elements and we were finally able to go to edit but needless to say, I never recommended her services to anyone and I certainly never hired her again.

Just as the terms of the my deal memo with this field producer were clearly stated in writing, the terms of my rights and responsibilities with Christ are clearly stated in His “deal memo” with us, the Bible. As I grow in faith, I am able to walk in more of the rights and benefits that are stated in the bible. I have a right to joy unspeakable [1Peter 1:8]. I have a right to “the peace of God, which passes all understanding...” [Phil. 4:7]. I have a right to the Holy Spirit, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” But I am also responsible for more.

I am responsible for the Truth, the word that I know. [Jn. 8:32] I am responsible for what I have been taught, by both God and man. I am responsible to stand for what I believe when I know that it lines up with the Word of God, regardless of how others feel about it. [Ephesians 6:13] I am responsible to share with others, to give my testimony of what I've been taught and my experiences with God, with those who permit it. [Matt. 11:15] For we are saved by the blood of the Lamb and the words of our testimony. [Rev. 12:11]

Unlike the field producer, I NEVER have to worry about God being in breach of contract. He is perfection. He is truth and heaven and earth shall pass away before his word returns unto Him void. [Is. 55:11; Lk. 21:33]. I can trust Him implicitly and relinquish any need to control how He accomplishes His part of our Deal Memo (how is not my responsibility), but rest in the knowledge that it will be done.

The New Testament covenant we have as believers, has made us all kings and priests unto God [Rev. 1:6], with rights and benefits reserved only for the high priests of the Old Testament and greater responsibilities as well. But the benefit of eternal life and intimacy with God far out weigh any burden we may carry. Christ even helps us with that. [1Peter 5:7; 2 Cor. 12:9]. He has made us free, no longer slaves to fear... fear of the opinions of men, of separation from God or of ever being alone again, because He will never leave or forsake us. [Deut. 31:6] And this liberty and relationship we have as believers, is not reserved for a select few (the presbytery) but for all who believe. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people. And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” [Hebrews 8:10-11]




Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Verb "To Be"


“To be or not to be--that is the question” asks Hamlet... and that is indeed the question. But what does it really mean? What does it mean, “to be”?

I first became aware of the magnitude of this question while sitting in a Spanish class at El Camino College. We were going over our homework, an exercise on the two spanish verbs “to be”, ser verse estar. In spanish, one of the first things you learn is which verb “to be” to use. Ser is used in description, origin and time, as in “Yo soy Felicia” (I am Felicia); “Yo soy de Chicago” (I am from Chicago); “Es el martes, 23 de abril de 2013” (It is Tuesday, April 23, 2013). Estar is used in locations and conditions, as in “Yo estoy sentado en la mesa de la cocina” (I am sitting at the kitchen table); and “Yo estoy cansada esta manana” (I am tired this morning). :)

As I sat in class, listening to the instructor reviewing the rules for Ser vs. Estar, I had an epiphany. That “being” is far more complex than I had prievously imagined. That the state of being was important enough for an entire culture to desginate different words for various states of being, and that which word to use is determined by whether or not you, as an individual have the power to change your state of being. I am from Chicago, I can't change that therefore, yo soy de Chicago. I am sitting at the kitchen table, I can change that at anytime by moving, therefore yo estoy sentada en la mesa de la cocina. I am Felicia, I cannot change the essence of who I am (i.e., my history, my lineage, what I value, my likes, my dislikes, my personality, etc). All these things combine to make me uniquely “me” therefore yo soy Felicia. We are a recipe that has taken untold generations and combinations create. We do have choices of traits that we emphasis, but the very fact that we choose them is an indication of who we are... and of who's we are.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Christ is the only one who can change our nature and cause us to be something new. When we receive him in our hearts, we become “new creatures in Christ”, but even the desire to receive Christ has to connect with something that already exists within us. “Deep calls unto deep...” [Ps. 42:7], we have “an ear to hear” [Matt. 11:15], we then can receive Him in our hearts and then we can become something new... born again, but the desire “to be” fully was always there. We simply answer the call of that “still small voice” and we become fully God's children and not merely his creation. “For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'” [Acts 17:28]

I know this from my own personal experience. When I was a practicing Roman Catholic, as much as I loved the church and my faith, I knew there was “something” missing. I couldn't put my finger on it or articulate fully, but I knew there had to be something more. While visiting Love Fellowship Tabernacle and listening to Pastor Daryl Coley, who at the time was a family friend, I heard the altar call and it connected with something so deep within me, that I literally stepped on my mother's friend (accidently of course) to get to that altar. I HAD to get there. The depth that is God called to the deep that was within me... my deep need to know (gnosis) that God loved me, my deep need to feel whole and my deep need to no longer be sad, because depression was something that I had dealt with all of my life.

By going to that altar, and receiving Christ in my heart, I had been given the power to change my state of being, to change my “estar”, my condition, and to become the “ser” I was always intended to be from the beginning of time. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” [Ephesians 1:4] and was my beginning in really know what it means “to be”. Now, in Him I live and move and truly have my being.


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