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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Just like Eve: Introduction

Big news!  After four years of putting my husband through Grad school for his advanced degree, I now have time to re-activate my blog!  Bigger news: I'm now writing the same themes with the same style as fiction.  Here’s my first snippet:

“Don’t return to this church or contact Pastor David ever again,” commanded the  head elder, shaking his head and letting out a sigh.  I had just been blackballed.  He then "prayed" for me and closed with the last words I heard spoken by anyone at my church: “You’re just like Eve.”

Just like Eve.  I had heard those words before.  I was eleven.  Our Sunday school class was studying the story of Noah’s flood.  “You see,” the teacher said, “The entire world was filled with wickedness.  The scripture records that ‘every intent’ of every person on earth – except for one – was full of ‘only evil’ and that every human, except for one, had corrupted the earth.’”  He then asked us what may have made Noah different, unique in the human race of his generation as a good man.  One of my Sunday school classmates said that maybe he wasn’t selfish; another said that he may have been willing to share his things with his friends; another said that maybe Noah didn’t litter all over the earth and pollute it like the others. 

The teacher nodded at all these responses.  I was unsure whether Noah really was unique, even whether he really was good.  I couldn’t quite pinpoint why, but I somehow felt that he wasn’t good. 

Francine raised her hand and offered her answer: “Noah was obedient.”  To this, my teacher grew a wide grin, and said, “Exactly, Francine.  The scripture records this is exactly what made Noah so special: He obeyed God.  Let’s look at what the Bible says in Genesis 6:22: ‘Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.’  While every other person on earth was disobeying God, Noah obeyed him.” 

So the teacher encouraged us to obey God and to memorize two scripture verses about Noah for the following week: “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8) and “Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did” (Genesis 6:22).

It was then that I understood what disturbed me about Noah: he obeyed God.  That was it!  So I raised myy hand and asked, “If Noah had found favor with God, why didn’t he use his favor to ask God to save the world?”  The teacher looked at me stunned, even disturbed.  But I didn’t know I was stepping out into dangerous, inappropriate territory by asking questions in Sunday school.  I didn’t know I was doing anything wrong by wanting to know why Noah obeyed, so when the teacher remained silent, I thought I’d better clarify my question, you know, make it blunt: “Why did Noah let God drown the world?”

The entire class went silent.  Each student looked at the teacher with eager eyes for an answer.  Each wanted to know the same thing: why had Noah let God drown the world?  The teacher was flummoxed.  The lesson that he had intended to instill upon his class was the lesson of obedience, but now my insolence was about to undermine the entire lesson with its opposite: disobedience.  I was suggesting that it would have been better if Noah had disobeyed God!  That it would have been better for Noah to supersede God and put forth Noah’s own, human notion that the evil world should remain.  The way I had phrased my question dug deep with prickles under the teacher’s skin: “Why had Noah let God drown the world?”  The question suggested that little, human Noah had authority over God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth.  How insolent of me to think that Noah “lets” God!

“Who created the heavens and the earth?” teacher asked me.  “God,” I replied.  “Why was Noah special,” teacher asked Francine. “Because he obeyed God,” replied Francis.  “Right,” said teacher to the full class.  Then, without answering my question, he turned to me and said with tinge of scorn, said, “You want the knowledge of God, and the power of God, and you want to disobey to get it.  You’re just like Eve.” 

He took a deep breath with the resolve to salvage the lesson I had fairly well bombed for him and asked us all to recite the memory verses: “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. . . . Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did” (Genesis 6:8 and 22).  After we obediently recited these verses, he took another breath to keep as calm as he could and then closed: “Now, everyone, keep reciting these verses for next week, and we’ll begin next Sunday with each of you reciting the verses.  Most of all, remember to be just like Noah and not just like Eve.

I felt the pierce into my heart at those words “not just like Eve,” that pierce of condemnation, condemnation I couldn’t even grasp or understand.  Why had I been so condemned?  What had I done wrong?

I did not know.  And, yet, I felt fully condemned, and ashamed, and I buried it.  I buried my condemnation, my shame, and my memory.  And I had forgotten this moment in my fifth grade Sunday school class -- until now.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

“Oh, how blind and deaf you are toward God!
Why won’t you listen?  Why won’t you see?
Who in all the world is as blind as my own people,
who are designed to be my messengers of truth?
Who is so blind as my dedicated one, the servant of the Lord?
You see and understand what is right but won’t heed nor do it;
you hear, but you won’t listen.”
(Isaiah 42:18-20; The Living Bible)

           Hi again, it’s been a long time.  My husband is finishing a Grad program, and my writing time has been limited by additional teaching hours for our family income.  Soon, I hope to resurrect the voice.  

          Peace, Karina

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

In the beginning the Ancient Story was under-told

In the beginning the Ancient Story was under-told.  Subtleties to be captured, then awed upon, went lost.  Then the Ancient Story was summarized, translated, and further under-told.

            It may be useful to reflect upon the Ancient Story as “under-told.”  That it was under-told is not to suggest that few told the Story or that the Story was rarely told.  No, nothing could be further from the truth, for many told the Story, and they told it often, but when they told it, they under-told it.  And by under-telling it, they eventually mis-told it.

            In the beginning the Ancient Story was under-told for a purpose.  It was under-stated, subtle, sublime, and mysterious.  In subtlety, the Ancient Story guarded its deepest secrets.  Sages meditated in awe for hours upon a single nuance, a single word, even a single letter.  Regular story-tellers, meanwhile, missed the sublime and carried the Story forward in its abridged version.  They summarized the Ancient Story, then further under-told it, then they translated their summaries, and then under-told it even more.

            Eventually, in their under-tellings, and summaries of under-tellings, and translations of summaries of under-tellings, they lost the punch lines.  Some of the story-tellers wondered what the punch lines were, and they debated among themselves about what the punch lines may have been.  But many of the story-tellers didn’t know they had lost any of the punch lines, and they kept under-telling the Ancient Story without any pauses or musings about why the Story was missing its punch lines.  Still others, whether conscious or not, one cannot know, perceived the punch lines were missing, and they added their own.  Now the Ancient Story was both under-told and mis-told.

Some of the Sages tried to rescue the Ancient Story from the story-tellers, and they tried to correct some of the errors had that arisen.  But the story-tellers hated the Sages, and they slandered the Sages and spat lies against them and called them every manner of rogue and scoundrel.  The story-tellers roused the people against the Sages, and they called for the murder of the Sages, and the people complied, and they killed the Sages.

In the beginning the Ancient Story was under-told.  In the beginning “the” was the Alpha and the Omega.  In the beginning God created “the” heavens and the earth.  In the beginning “the” was Aleph-Tav, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last.  In the beginning God created the Alpha and the Omega, the heavens and the earth.

In the beginning the masculine and feminine powers – in plural, “Elohim,” created the Alpha and the Omega.  “Beginning” created “Elohim,” the Alpha and the Omega, the heavens and the earth.  In the beginning the Ancient Story was under-told.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Eve's story

Greetings to all.  I know you haven’t seen me lately, and I miss all of you too.  It is not that I am not writing.  It is that I am putting my husband through Grad School, and when I am writing, I am working on a much larger project, a book that follows Eve from a modern, new, and more biblically accurate perspective -- though that perspective challenges the very tenants of the traditional churches in North America.

The Bible admits, for example, that men ruling over women a curse.  It is the third curse noted to Eve in Genesis 3:16.  Few know the curse, “he will rule over you,” even exists, and if they ask about it, they may be told the “curse” expresses what was intended.  Few carry out the line of questioning to its logical end, “if ‘he will rule over you’ describes what should be, then why is it expressed as a curse?”

If we Christians recognize and face the biblical expression that men ruling over women is a curse, then we can begin the process of transcending that curse.  And is that not why Christ came? To set us free?

Between the well-known curse to Eve of pain in childbirth and the chilling final curse that the man would rule over her comes another little-known curse, “your yearning will be for the man.”  Few are aware of this curse either, and fewer understand it.  But when we think about it, does this little phrase not express extraordinary truth?  Little girls dream of marrying a prince while little boys are thinking nothing of girls, let alone marriage.  Teen girls hit a crisis if they don’t get asked to the prom, an event for which most teen boys are still shrugging their shoulders and rolling their eyes.  

The story continues, and we’re all familiar with it.  It is a story that is not universal, but common: the teen boy goes, but his true hope has nothing to do with the prom, but the sex he craves after it.  The girl, who we’ll call Eve, gives it, not because she wants the sex, but because she wants to go to the prom.  She keep giving it to keep her boyfriend.  Then she gets pregnant and hopes for what she really wants: marriage.  But the boyfriend doesn’t want marriage.  He wants abortion. 

Eve’s story can take many turns at this point, but it began with something very simple: the girl yearns for the boy.  And she is not yearning for him sexually.  The scripture is very clear: she yearns for “the man.”  The man himself.  The person.  She wants him to complete her because she doesn't feel complete on her own.  Whatever choice Eve makes at this moment in her story, her life is impacted by this seven-word curse in a great myriad of ways she has never considered: the curse steals five hours of her week on her favorite soap opera and twenty hours on other sources from celebrity magazines to romance novels to fashion tips to social networking sites revolving on her obsession with romance.  Much more of her time is also spent on less direct associations with her obsession, including shopping, which steals not only time, but money.  Her wardrobe, her cosmetics, and her hair styling appointments add up to a great deal more money than her boyfriend’s attire.  Were she not living under this seven-word curse, she would likely still spend more on her appearance than her man, but not many times more.

The seven word curse deceives Eve into a relationship before she’s ready, to abuse, to enabling risky behavior, and into many choices she would make differently were not she unconsciously driven by a thread woven into the feminine structure.

Again, Eve’s story is not universal, but it is common.  In my book, I will express awe at the insightful nature of the biblical writer to not only describe – very perceptively -- what has been written into the expression of feminine humanity, but also to call these expressions “curses.”  The biblical writer carried remarkable foresight to state that men ruling over women is a curse, and, remarkably, the biblical writer even perceived that women yearning for men is also a curse.  Today, in our twenty-first century, we don’t even see what has been written in the Bible for what it is, let alone carry the foresight of this biblical author who recognized these two expressions of feminine humanity as curses.

Today, in the Christian scriptures, we also have a solution to our curses: the Christ, the Savior, who came to set us free of our curses.  In Him, can transcend them.  In fact, the clear antidote for a curse that a woman will yearn for her earthly man is by completion of her yearning by her heavenly Man.  In Him, she is complete, and, therefore, her yearning for her earthly man has been transcended.

I hope to post updates on my progress and on the story here along the way, though posting may be less frequent. Meanwhile, feel free to check in.  I’d love to hear from you.  I miss everyone.  Meanwhile, please join me in praying for insight and clarity from the Spirit on the progress of this book.  It’ll rattle a few cages, and that’s giving me some writer’s block.  I’d love your prayers. 

Thank you and blessings, 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Awakening to the Divine Voice

 “’My Father is working until now,
and I myself am working.’
For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking
all the more to kill him,
because he not only was breaking the Sabbath,
but also was calling God His own Father,
making Himself equal with God”
(John 5:17-18)

            Even more radical than calling God his own Father is to call God Father of us all.  The Jewish leaders leaped to interpret this as “making himself equal,” but, rather, it suggests intimacy with the divine.  We forget such intimacy was not part of the Jewish way of thinking.  After all, every year, in this very season, in almost every other place we look, we see lovely scenes of the divine, laying in a manger, surrounded by a family, kings, shepherds, and even sheep, cows and donkeys.  In this intimate scene, people and animals alike are all lovingly adoring a little baby who represents the divine intimately sleeping among us.

            But in the day of that divine child, to consider the divine, God, in terms so intimate, not only as a baby among us, but even as our “Father,” was a radical paradigm, a threatening one, in fact.  It was made even more threatening by Jesus’ implied claim to trump them: “You think you have the authority to tell me what God wants of me?  No, God is my Father, and I listen directly to Him.”

            Understandably, the Jewish leaders saw a great threat in this, especially with Jesus’ growing ministry.  They perceived that if he were not stopped, soon everyone would be getting their directions from him, not them.  Even worse, they must have wondered what would happen if he were to teach that they could also have God as their own Father?  Worst of all, what if his followers also learn to hear God for themselves?  What would happen to them?  Wouldn’t they lose all their authority, their power, their jobs?  This Jesus had better be stopped.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming
and now is when the dead shall hear
the voice of the Son of God;
and those who hear shall live.”
(John 5:25)

            If the Jewish leaders were not already sufficiently incensed, one can barely imagine their ire while listening to His discourse that begins, “the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing” (5:19) and ends with the critique, “For if you believed Moses, you would have believed Me; for he wrote of Me.  But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (5:47)

            In the middle are portions that suggest what may have been their greatest fear: that Jesus’ followers could also learn to hear the voice of God.  Consider the statement above in verse 25,” the dead shall hear”: until one hears, one is “dead.”  Genuine life, what Jesus terms “eternal life,” only commences upon the hearing, the believing, and the trusting in the Son.  Prior to that, one is not alive, but “dead.”

            Prior to that moment, the divine is like the lovely image we see in the Nativity: the divine sleeping among us, and within us.  When it wakes, we are no longer dead, but alive.

            What Jesus says just before this is also revealing: “he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (5:24).  We think of passing from life to death, but Jesus says the one who hears passes from death to life.  This suggests we are born into death and then pass into life.

            Once we do, then we, too, can hear the voice of the Father and find authority straight from the Father.  It’s a process: “an hour is coming and now is.  The voice begins with hearing the red-printed statements in the Gospels and through the church’s teachings.  The more one searches the scriptures, the more clear the voice becomes.

            In time, often while reading the scriptures, surprising insight comes through the Holy Spirit. This voice of the Son is growing ever more clear.  Then, in prayer, the voice comes through again.  Then it comes while one is walking, showering, gardening, cooking.  The voice is becoming a friend.  It’s the voice I’ve named this blog: “whispers of mystery.”

            By the time one consciously perceives that this voice is less about the person Jesus and more about the divine voice, “the voice of the Son of God,” the process has lasted so long, one knows not when the voice actually emerged.  Even if one had a significant encounter with the Holy Spirit, the voice emerged, nevertheless, through a process.

            At the beginning, when our flesh rules much more than our spirit, external forces are essential to guide us forward.  Hence, no matter how much we may critique what I and, I’ve since discovered, others call “Churchianity,” the external force of the Church is a critical ingredient in getting this process moving forward.

            The instances when we may be critical of the Church are in those moments when it quits moving the process forward and actually stunts the process: “Don’t go any further.  That’s dangerous territory.”

            Usually, the Church stunts the process at the same point that the religious leaders tried to stop Jesus: when one claims he can hear the Father for himself.  When this occurs, once again, the church leaders can be threatened to lose their authority and power.  The Church’s job is to bring us to the point where, though we may choose to continue fellowship and service, we no longer need the Church for our own personal growth.  At this moment, some churches rejoice.  Others churches do not.

            Whether or not we may be participating in a church that rejoices with us, the good news is we are the ones to hear the divine voice and to follow its guidance.  Our intimacy can be even deeper than the lovely image of divine within a baby sleeping among us.  Instead, it can be of the divine voice awoken within us.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

"God is Spirit"

“An hour is coming and now is,
when the true worshipers shall
worship the Father in spirit and truth;
for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers”
(John 4:23)

It’s a worship from within, in Spirit, tapping into this inexplicable knowledge, truth, a deep form of intuition that goes beyond intuition and into knowledge of truth.
            Next, Yeshua says something revealing: “God is Spirit” (John 4:24).  While this statement does complement the traditional concept of the Trinity, it doesn’t fit into our popular concept of God.  Yeshua’s own depiction of God as “Father” fits the way we perceive God as a much larger and far grander version of us humans.  But, here, Yeshua clarifies that the Father uses the names Father, God, and “spirit.”  In verses 4:21-24, Yeshua uses the names Father and God interchangeably as He who is worshiped in spirit and truth, so Father = God = Spirit.

“God is spirit,
and those who worship Him
must worship in spirit and truth”
(John 4:24)

            In the full statement, Yeshua suggests we cannot worship God unless we worship “in spirit and truth.”  Religion is not worship.  Rituals are not worship.  Adherence to doctrines is not worship.  Going to church is not worship.  These things can be done, and perhaps they’ll be of some benefit, but they are not “worship.”  If we consider this full discourse, with living water “springing up to eternal life” in the one who receives it and worship “in spirit and truth,” then it seems “worship” is more akin to deep prayer and meditation than most of our usual concepts of “worship.”  It can take place corporately, but likely cannot occur unless it also, and most importantly, takes place privately.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

To Believe or to Know

“He who comes from above is above all,
he who is of the earth is from the earth
and speaks of the earth.
He who comes from above is above all.
What he has seen and heard,
of that he bears witness;
and no man receives his witness”
(John 3:31-32)

The repeated refrain of Yeshua to Nicodemus in the Gospel of John, poetically expressed as a wrap in verse 31, “He who comes from above/heaven is above all,” sounds curiously akin to a few statements in the Gospel of Thomas, where they are applied to any of the special few men and women who find their way into the kingdom.
Next we see that he who is “above all” knows, for “what he has seen and heard, of that he bears witness” (v. 32).  This one does not merely “believe,” he knows, for only one who knows can “bear witness.”  However, the manner in which he knows is quite distinct from that of men in general, “for no man receives his witness.”  This is because men, in order to “believe” (let alone “know”) must have empirical evidence or a “sign” the people kept demanding.  Men need to see, touch, hear, and taste in order even to believe, let alone know.  However, he who comes from above knows without that empirical evidence because he has evidence that goes even deeper than the empirical variety.
Often, the knowledge begins with empirical evidence, some miracle that should not be chalked up to “coincidence.”  These are moments for which I mock the skeptics: It takes more faith to believe this statistical impossibility was due to random chance than to believe in a divine miracle.  Sometimes a series of such clues coms forth to boost one’s faith, and once one’s “faith has made [himself] well,” one moves beyond belief, trust and faith, and into knowledge: “I don’t believe, I know,” as Carl Jung has famously answered in response to whether he believed in God.
            At this point, one knows not from empirical evidence, but from some remarkable and inexplicable knowledge from within.  It is akin to the knowledge of babies and toddlers that defies any scientific understanding: How do babies learn how to walk and talk?  Frankly, scientists are baffled and admit they don’t know.  So Noam Chomskey coined the term, “Language Acquisition Device,” known by its acronym the “LAD,” to provide, at the very least, a definition of this mystery and a term for the convenience of researchers, psychologists, pediatricians, educators, and others who work with children who may have a weakened “LAD” in contrast to those who have a healthy “LAD.”
In essence, what is the LAD?  A divinely placed mechanism into humans that teaches us to talk, read, write, and communicate.  Neurologists still haven’t found it, and they won’t, for it is not biological, but a divinely implanted system of knowledge in the human mind.  Others have likened this knowledge to knowing a sunset is beautiful.  How do we know?  Because beauty has been divinely written into our hearts, so when we encounter it, we know.
            Likewise, those “born from above” have another divinely placed mechanism within their mind by which they “know” things others don’t.  Psychics, remote viewers, and those with ESP have such unusual knowledge that’s inexplicable to those without this knowledge.  Those who are spiritually infused with special knowledge, who have been “born from above” and are publicly acknowledged to have spiritual insight are called “prophets.”  Others may lack this public acknowledgement but nevertheless maintain such a divinely placed gifting of inexplicable knowledge.
            Given that such knowledge is inexplicable, “no man receives his witness” (v. 32).  “How are we to believe you?” men ask.  “Just because you say so?”  “What evidence do you have?”  “Show us a sign.”  It cannot be done.  Attempting to explain this knowledge is an exhausting and exasperating trial in futility that thoroughly frustrates both the one trying to explain it and the one trying to understand.  Most who have received such inexplicable knowledge have stories of their own futile attempts at explaining it, often to receive mockery, scorn, and diagnoses of psychological disorders.  Eventually, the wise ones learn to shut up and accept that “no man receives his witness.”
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