Wednesday, April 3, 2013

No Little Drummer Boy Here: The Real Christmas

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
who, although He existed in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant,
and being made in the likeness of men.
Being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him,
and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW,
of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
 to the glory of God the Father.
         Ancient letter to a church plant, otherwise known as Philippians 2:3-11

Father walks into Son’s bedroom.  Son is laying on a single bed, playing with what looks like marbles in a box.  On the wall are posters and bumper stickers: “Creation: Love It Or Leave It” and “You Deserve A Sabbath Today” and “Next Time You Think You’re Perfect, Try Walking on Leviathan” and “The Few, The Proud, the Creators.” 

Father: (Cautious) Hey, Son.

Son: (Sulking, but trying not to show it) Hey, Dad.

Father: Haven’t seen you around lately.

Son: Been busy.


Father: (Trying to sound interested) Oh, really?  Doing what?

Son: You know.  The usual.

Father: (Sighs)  Let’s pretend I don’t know, okay?

Son: Whatever.  Well, right now I’m trying out a new atomic number.

Father: That sounds cool.  Is it stabilizing?

Son: I’m sure it will.  Just need a bit more dark matter.  Few more quarks. 

Father: Great.  That sounds great.

(Pause.  Son keeps playing with marbles in the box.)

Father: So…  I haven’t seen you around lately.

Son: Yeah, you said that.

Father: I kinda hoped that you’d show up at the last staff meeting.

Son: Oh, you wanted me to be there?

Father: Since you are on the Creation staff… yeah, I thought you might want to show up.

Son: I don’t really see the point.

Father: Since you were so significant in starting this whole mess,13 I thought you might want a part in cleaning it up…

Son: Dad, don’t put that on me again…

Father: Look, we need to talk about this.  You were instrumental in the initiation of this project, and at first you were at the heart of sustaining as well, but your heart just hasn’t been in it lately.  Why?  Is there something wrong?  Something I did?

Son: Dad, no, I mean, you’re perfect.

Father: That’s true, but I’m trying to understand your perspective.

Son: It’s just… I’m still disappointed.

Father: About what?

Son: About the humans.

Father: What about them?

Son: Well, look, Dad.  I thought that maybe you’d finally put me in charge of something.    I’m old enough now, I think.  Maybe you don’t think I’m responsible enough—I don’t know.  And here was this project.  The big one.  We were remodeling the earth—again—but this time I really thought we had hit on it, we had done it right.  This was the final try.  But instead of being put in charge of the project, you handed it off to… him.  The human.  I mean, he was a great idea—brilliant, really.  The capstone of the whole project.  But whose idea was it to put him in charge?14 

Father: I think you know…

Son: Yes, Dad, it was your idea.  And I know you’re perfect and all, but—  but—…   What a lame idea!  It wasn’t too many generations later that the whole project had to be wiped out and drafted again, all because of those humans.15

Father: Noah was a good man.

Son: Yeah, fine, when he wasn’t drunk out of his skull!  You told him about fermenting grape juice didn’t you?16

Father: He had a long, hard life.

Son: Sure he did.  That’s because all of these humans—all of them, from Adam to Noah on down— are all STUPID!  As a group they are technologically brilliant, but whether in a group or individually they are moral imbeciles!17  They are just as likely to worship a stump of wood as they are a true god.18  And the way they treat each other—paranoia, lack of empathy, rejection and being rejected for the most idiotic reasons—“Oh, you’re stepping on my land, looks like I need to kill you…”  Just ridiculous!

Father: Moses wasn’t ridiculous.

Son: Yeah, he’s the only one who would pay attention to you.

Father: Avraham paid attention.

Son: Sometimes. But the incident with Abimelech…19

Father: Hey, he’s only human…

Son: That’s the point!  They’re ALL only human.  Yeah, Dad, you chose some great ones there (although I still have some questions about Samson) but still, as a race they have no right to rule.  No right to be in charge of my project!

Father: So, you see this as really being yours?

Son: Oh, no, Dad.  It’s yours.  All yours.  I wouldn’t want to be in charge of it now. 

Father: Oh, really?

Son: No way, it’s all too messed up now… (Father stares at the Son)  Stop it!  Stop this omniscient bit, it’s getting really annoying.

Father: You would like to be in charge of the project.

Son: Well, I think I could do things better…

Father: Then why not show up to the staff meetings?

Son: C’mon, Dad.  The staff meetings are a joke.  You know that Satan’s plan is just to wipe the whole project out.  He’s got most of the staff in his pocket, and they are all subtlety subverting all of humanity against you.  They are trying to force you into a corner to just destroy the whole project and start with something else.  So the staff meetings end up being as ironic as a human committee: (Begins imitating the council) “This human’s great!”  “Oh no, Most High, let me show you what he’s really like.”  “Well, you can try.” 20  And there are these manipulations of nations that end up changing nothing at all.  It just doesn’t matter if it’s Babylon or Persia or Greece or Rome—humanity is still just as stupid and just as immoral. 

Father: So you think you could do better.

Son: You bet I could!  We just need to get rid of these gods that encourage evil and guide them into following your law.21  Who knows, perhaps even humans can be trained to do right, if they had the right guidance.

Father: So you want to replace the gods?

Son: Dad, look, they’re taking all the credit that belongs to you.  All creation honors these lesser beings and ignore the Most High.22  You’d think they’d know better, but they don’t.  If we got rid of the gods, we can retrain all of creation and not have to wipe it out again.

Father: Hmmm… good plan Son.  Of course, the gods wouldn’t like that.

Son: So who cares?  You just get rid of them.

Father: I could… if I had a good enough reason.  I can’t just willy-nilly get rid of whatever power in heaven I want to.

Son: Why not?  You’re the Most High, right?

Father. Of course.  Technically I can do whatever I want.  But for me to be just, I have to have sufficient reason to do away with any being.23  I don’t just destroy life because I can.  Well, look Son.  I’ve always though that you had the best aptitude to deal with this project—certainly you were more involved in it initially than any of the others. 

Son: Well, sure.  I got to spend time with my Dad.

Father: Yeah.  It was great, wasn’t it?

Son: It sure was. (Pause.) I’m sorry, Dad.  I… guess I could show up to more staff meetings.  Participate more.  It’s enough to know that you’d listen to me, even if no one else does.

Father: Thanks for the thought.  But I have another committee in mind for you.

Son: (Unsure) Really?  Not the Subcommittee of Restricting Unapproved Epiphanies?  I really think that those guys are…

Father:  No, this committee is really… unique.  And I think you alone have the gifts to do it.

Son: What is it?

Father: I want you to train the humans.  Yourself.

Son: Dad… you know what happens.  You get a group of humans, and there’s all this bowing and “Almighty” this, and nothing ever gets done, and no one listens to you.

Father:  But it might be a way to train the humans not to worship the other gods.

Son: And replace them for me instead.  Sure, I can train them, but it seems wired into the human genome to worship any old slug, as long as it’s got something “glorious” about it.

Father: Not if you are human yourself.

Son: (Shocked)  What?  Be a…  I don’t think you know what you’re asking.

Father: I sure do.  It’s the biggest challenge anyone’s faced.

(Long pause)

Son: But humans… breathe, Dad.  All those germs constantly entering into their lungs, then passing through the tissue and entering the blood stream.  The bacteria they have in their intestines.  Their mouths—they are like a living, walking, zoo!  Disgusting!

Father: I understand.  If you recall, I made the design.

Son: But I’d have to give up creating.  Give up my life’s work…

Father: You won’t stop creating.  Just think of it as just finishing the work you had begun.

Son: I don’t know, Dad.  I mean, if they just saw some human descending from heaven, they’d certainly think that I was a god, no matter what the body…

Father: That’s why you’d have to be born human.

Son: In a womb?  Floating in amniotic fluid for nine months?

Father: Yep. 

Son: Unable to speak for… years?  Humiliated by human parents every day?  Never seen as more than a slave?  And then… puberty? 

Father:  All of these experiences are a part of what makes one human.  If you are going to have the experience, you have to have the full experience.

Son: Adam didn’t, and wasn’t he fully human?

Father: And look how he turned out.

Son: I don’t think being pushed through a vagina would have changed him that much!

Father: (Smirking) You never know until you try.

Son: Dad, this is disgusting!

Father: Yes, I know.  And it is even worse than that.  You will be abused by those who need you the most.  There will be attempts to kill you and there will be nothing you can do.  The gods will come after you, but I will protect you in some limited ways.  But all of this, all of your power, all of your knowledge—you’ll have to set it aside.  The only things you can do or know will be what I give you on a day by day basis.  It’s a tough job.

Son: I just can’t.  This is too much!  Asking me to give up everything I know.  Only to become one of those filthy creatures you erroneously placed in charge of that chaos?  I can’t imagine.  It just isn’t worth it.

Father: It isn’t worth rebuilding all of creation?  It isn’t worth finishing the project you began?  If the project isn’t worth some self-sacrifice, think of this.  All along, you regretted the fact that I gave humans the opportunity to rule the planet.  I believe you called them “filthy worms” at the beginning.

Son: Well, I was exaggerating…

Father: Fine, I accept that.  But the fact of the matter is, I DID give humans rule over creation.  And I can’t just take it away.  That’s one thing I will never change, if I make a promise, I keep it. 

Son: Didn’t you promise Moses you’d kill off the Israelites?

Father: That wasn’t a promise, it was a threat.  You’re getting off the subject.  One way or another, it is a human who will rule all creation.  That’s the foundation of the whole project.  A human will rule, not a heavenly being, but one bound to the earth, made from earth…

Son: Yeah, so, a human will rule…  Oh, I see.  So this gives me the rule over creation. (Brightens) You are giving the project to me!

Father: I’m giving you the OPPORTUNITY to have the project.  It must be given to a human.24  If you become a human, it is possible for you to be in charge of the whole project. 

Son: And the other gods?

Father: If they don’t become human, they aren’t even in the running.

Son:  And Satan?25  

Father: Don’t underestimate him, Son.  He will do everything he can to stand in your way.  And it is possible for him to stop you. You will have to defeat him.  But remember this—you can’t defeat him through your creation powers.  You can’t defeat him through a human army.  There is only one way to defeat him…

Son: Which is…?

Father: We’ll talk about that later.  What I need to know now is, are you going to make the attempt?

Son: To be human?

Father: Yes.  And to be completely obedient to me.

Son: I always do what you say, Dad.

Father: Yes, but trust me, your submission to be will be tested to the utmost limit.

Son: Are you telling me to do this?

Father: Only if you want to.

Son:  If I want?  Of course not.  It is the most horrifying thing I could ever imagine.  Being one of those crawly beings on that planet.  Giving up all the honor and power I have here.

Father: So your answer is…

Son: Yes!  Oh, yeah.  The possibilities… wow.  I’ll have to start making plans.  Thanks Dad, this is a great opportunity.  Thanks for giving it to me.

Father: (Smiling, he shakes his head)  You are such a weird kid…

13. Jesus was at the heart of creating all things.  John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17.
14. Genesis1:26.
15. Genesis 6:5-8.
16. Genesis 9:20-21
17. Humans are smart as a group: Genesis 11:6.  Humans are stupid as individuals: Ecclesiastes 7:20-29; Ecclesiastes 8:17; Isaiah 29:13-14; Jeremiah 8:9; I Corinthians 1:19-21.
18. Isaiah 40:18-21
19. Genesis 20
20. Job 1:6-12.
21. The members of heaven’s council were called “gods”, such as in Psalm 82. Deuteronomy 6:14-18.
22. Isaiah 40:18-21; Romans 1:20-23.
23. Exodus 23:7; Deuteronomy 27:25; Ezekiel 18.
24. Psalm 8:4-6.
25. The term “satan” in Hebrew is not a name, but a title, the “Accuser” or the district attorney.  The one who accuses humanity of sin before God.  We can see his function in Job 1-2 and Zechariah 3:1-4, as one who accuses the best of humanity of being unacceptable to stand before God.  Satan in the New Testament is one who is the ruler of demons and of gods, and who is ultimately the ruler of the human world (Matthew 12:24; II Corinthians 4:4; Acts 26:18).  To take the world for humanity is truly to take it from the slavery of Satan.

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