Dictionary definition of –
a quality of mystery, glamour, or power associated with someone or something: the mystique surrounding the monarchy.
• an air of secrecy surrounding a particular activity or subject that makes it impressive or baffling to those without specialised knowledge.
There is a mystique that is created around certain individuals, cultish groups, or religions.
It is the part (copied and pasted below) of the above dictionary definition that I have in mind:
• an air of secrecy surrounding a particular activity or subject that makes it impressive or baffling to those without specialised knowledge.
An air of secrecy that can baffle those who seemingly do not have this (person’s) specialised knowledge.
To manipulate or control the minds of cult followers, this aspect of ‘specialised knowledge’ is propagated in the ears of the followers by the ‘guru’ figure who seeks unquestioning obedience.
This can lead to bazaar acts of subservience to the leaders wishes. This deception can illicit blind loyalty which can be expressed in all kinds of ways, inclusive of sexual deviance, all cultivated by an idea that this person has superior knowledge, outside the norm.
Often these individuals claim god-given enlightenment, and that they are ‘special’.
That they are cut from a ‘superior’ cloth than the rest of mankind. And therefore unfaltering and un-altering obedience is the obvious response to this superior being – (don’t think so).
For everything that is one hundred percent genuine in the life of The Lord Jesus Christ – there is an exact deceptive copy.
You name them and you will find that – for every genuine attribute of His – there is a false alternative.
There is a false pseudo version of all He is. And all of His wonderful attributes are claimed – to be also found in many false Christ’s or cult leaders who deceive others into the kind of sick subservience they demand.
Jesus does not violate the free gift of volition he has given to all of mankind. The free gift of ‘free-will’. The power of choice.
In the interests of destroying what destroys – He will eventually step in and wind things up for good.
This will come in His timing and no one knows the hour or the day that this will happen.
But only then will He completely overrule the free-will of man from His standpoint of infinitely superior wisdom, and in the benevolent interest of all of His creation. Responding in pure righteousness to the litany of sinful wrong decisions since time began.
In the light of all of this – it is important that we (as the scripture says:) ‘believe not every spirit’. (I John 4/1)
But the Christian gospel is brought to us by God (who is a Spirit) and unfortunately many will believe the lying manipulation of deceivers who claim – ‘Lo here is the Christ or there is the Christ…’ (Matthew 24/23)
All done to usually seek some kind of advantage over their followers for their own gain and the feathering of their own nest. (Unfortunately this can creep into the Christian church also).
Concerning the Lord Jesus Christ it was said of Him – that ‘No man ever spoke like this man’ (John 7/46)
He was and is the Son of God.
He was one-hundred-percent genuine. In Him was found no sin.
Many however – were the accusations railed against Him. The accusations were false. But He was/is true.
Unfortunately no one can claim His spotless, blameless character/nature. Because all have sinned and fallen short of His glory and standard.
All includes you and I.
And so to claim in light of what I have just written that I can claim to have knowledge that is not common to all, might at first sound like a contradiction to the above paragraphs.
Lining myself up to be tarred with the same brush as those referred to above.
But consider the words of God and what He claims for His followers –
Addressing His followers –
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
God desires Christians to have and therefore supplies knowledge of His will – and the point I’m making in the context of this post – He therefore supplies/makes available – wisdom and spiritual understanding.
Not everyone has that wisdom and spiritual understanding filling them.
But it is offered to Christ’s followers, and is part of their inheritance as believers.
This is not given to make us superior or to court the blind obedience of others, but it is something that is God-given, and sets us apart from others, through the gift of God, and His unearned favour.
Here we read of this understanding that He has given us.
It has been given by revelation. The Son of God has come and given us an understanding.
There was a time when we didn’t have it – like many who still don’t. But then the Holy Spirit entered our lives and He has ‘given us an understanding…’
1 John 5:20
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
Listen too, to what the Apostle Paul says:
1 Corinthians 4:1
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Stewards of what? The mysteries of God.
Revealing that what we know is a mystery.
Here is a dictionary definition of mystery:
something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain…
Difficult, even impossible to understand or explain.
Yet the revelation of these mysteries, has been given to true… (notice I say ‘true’, as in ‘genuine’, for every true genuine professor of Christ – there is a false one)
…given to genuine followers of Christ, and we steward the mysteries carefully.
Does that mean we want others to consider us superior, or a cut above the rest, or that we want others to follow us, in some kind of repugnant subservient way?
Not at all. The only way anyone should follow me – is if I take them and introduce them to Jesus Christ.
Let me know if you desire directions – after which you can go to Him yourself.
10 And the disciples came and said to Him (Jesus), “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you (His followers) to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
(bold highlighting – mine throughout)
The wind was sufficient to help him up the hill
Pushing at his back with impromptu gusts
He saw up ahead the break in the fence
And on reaching it, he quietly slipped through
No sooner had he entered the field when
A greater gust of wind than before, pushed
him so hard, he propelled forward and
fell face first onto the ground
The sting of his cheek hitting a broken tree branch
Caused him to cry out in pain
He lay there for a moment or two before slowly
Trying to rise up again.
As he did so he noticed something a few feet ahead
He stepped forward to examine it
Reaching his hand in behind a few weeds
He grasped the object
It was a…
The terrible disappointment of this short
story is that it shall not be finished,
by my choice of will.
Increased expectation of a climax or finale – gone.
Unfinished – like your life and mine.
For myself, I’m glad to report I know
what the sequel of my life is.
By choice I will be part of what is promised.
(I Thessalonians 4/17)
The first of these design ‘depictions’ is pen and coloured pencil, rendered in a somewhat naive style.
The second was drawn with a mouse in an early photoshop layered ‘compilation’ (Photoshop 4 – I think).
They are not connected in any way.
Which (if any) do you prefer?
A lady dressed in a dark blue suit, was seemingly trying to look at all of his paintings at once…
At least so it seemed by the way she pondered none of them.
As he sat staring at his own painting, lost in it’s design, he couldn’t help wondering if she too, allowed herself to be as focused in her appreciation of art, as he was?
The whole idea of someone bringing forth an end result from within themselves, through hand, sight and mind co-ordination that could not be produced by any other human being, held, for him, a great fascination.
The artist in everyone, could be expressed given the necessary tools.
Pencil and paper, Canvas and paints, metal and soldering iron, stone and chisel, cardboard and glue, random objects in post-modern expression – whatever.
The good, the bad and the ugly in art – is/was still unique to the individual who created it, and the diversity in people’s taste is of course immense.
“If only we could allow ourselves to stop and take the time to look and then see, we could then – appreciate…”. Or so he mused…
“How much is it…?” she asked in an impatient manner, pointing her finger at one painting.
“Yeah yeah – how much…?”
“It’s free…” he responded.
Looking decidedly unconvinced – she continued: “Ok can I see something worth more…”
The song Imagine by John Lennon includes the line: ‘And no religion too’, and in the song we are also exhorted to imagine no heaven and no hell.
As a one-time admirer of John Lennon, who had great musical ability – my conclusions about the lyrics of the song – is ‘yes I do say you are a dreamer, regardless of the fact that you may not be the only one’.
And no I won’t be ‘joining you’ in taking on board the conclusions reached in the song.
The song for me is written by someone who spent his life searching. Searching for something, he honestly seemed unable to find.
I didn’t and don’t, know the man’s innermost world. But once likened my own search to his.
There is a heaven and there is a hell, but it is not found within the confines of the mental comprehension and limited perspective that man places upon it.(Revelation 4/1), (Matthew 10/28)
Nevertheless it doesn’t do any harm to keep the conclusions that we come to – simple, about ‘heaven and hell’. Because at the end of the day (indeed the end of days as we know them) there is a place of eternal bliss, and a place of eternal justice – having it’s day.
As we used to say Christ’s Salvation is ‘a hell to be shunned’ and a ‘heaven to be gained’.
The idea of Heaven – most can live with.
But the subject of hell – well, this is the subject that usually gets everyone’s heckles up – and before you know it anyone who suggests there is a hell – get’s lambasted and caricatured as a stern faced, foaming at the mouth, judgementalist, who considers themselves superior to everyone else and hasn’t an ounce of compassion in their little finger.
Bit like, the way Jesus exposed some of the Pharisees to be.
But hold on – weren’t they the religious ones?
What’s that John? – ‘imagine there’s no religion…’ – yes – I can do that!
* James 1:27
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, – To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Oh so that’s what true/pure religion is!
No I don’t want to imagine that missing. We need that. We need pure ‘Biblical’ religion, as just described.
But religion that says man is his own salvation, obtained through some kind of mental gymnastics involving tricks of the mind, where a personal God (as in God being a Person, a personality even…) is replaced by some kind of impersonal electrical vibration that is conjured up by repetitious chanting – sorry not for me.
We could always stick the word ‘science’ upon such practices – in that way we can reinforce the conclusion that we have no need to look any further than ourselves.
We can sit back and affirm our own ingenuity at working out the mysteries of the universe, the old chestnut: ‘you have your truth and I have mine’.
In which there is only relativism but no absolutes. So – no total assurance of any kind that we have found ‘absolute truth’, about the creator of the universe.
Again in Lennon’s song – ‘Brotherhood of man’ – is a great idea, but it ain’t gonna happen.
To treat our fellow human beings with respect, and to share with and help as best we can is certainly proof of any kind of faith we might have, and racism should be shunned.
But we all know the reality of a sin-sick world – the need is enormous and someone greater than ourselves who came to earth to provide a way back to the Almighty (who is transcendent) – must step into history. And He has in the person of the only begotten Son of the Living God.
So when we try to figure this heaven, hell, afterlife, god thing out – we can do what John says – just imagine it all away.
After all (many conclude) it is ‘imagined’ anyway – who really knows? – is their agnostic conclusion.
Some would say we need someone back from the dead who has been there and bought the celestial tee shirt – with ‘I got to the afterlife by imagining it didn’t exist, but here I am back again to tell you the right way of it’.
That Person (Jesus Christ) who imagined no such thing – has been back from the dead, and lays it all out clearly in a book we call the bible.
He tells us we can imagine all we like, but there is a heaven and there is a hell, and there is a way to ensure we shall have eternal life in a dwelling place, specially prepared for those who will believe in the King of heaven. (John 14/2)
He hath showed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
So we can imagine all we want, and if you have visited this blog – you will know I ‘champion’ imagination through my art – but heh! Let’s get real – imagination is imagination – reality is reality.
So whatever your religion, please allow me to respect you first as a human being and to be a friend. But sorry if I can’t take on board any other *religion other than the one referred to in the Bible.
In fact as I stated once before – I am not religious in the widely accepted sense – for me it’s simple: Christ Jesus came into the world that I might have life and life more abundantly – both now and for eternity.
I have proved this to be so – through knowledge of the truth and through experiencing The Spiritual Life and Personal relationship Jesus Christ the Son of God offers to the needy heart.
So let me plagiarise John Lennon’s line: ‘I hope some day you’ll join us…’
1 Timothy 1:15
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.